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GST – April 1,2017 Rollout Improbable

The GST Council met on 11th December, 2016 to continue the deliberation on the draft legislations and the issue of dual control.

Briefing the Press, Sri Arun Jaitley stated that 99 sections of the draft CGST/SGST legislation was discussed and that few provisions require redrafting and few provisions relating to issue of control over administration of assessees were deferred pending decision on the issue of dual control.

The next meeting of the GST Council is scheduled on 22nd and 23rd December when the remaining provisions of the draft CGST/SGST legislation would be discussed. It is expected that the draft IGST legislation and CST Compensation legislation would be discussed besides the contentious issue of dual control.

It appears from press reports that since IGST Act is to be administered by the Central Government, the issue of dual control would centre around this aspect.

While Sri Jaitley stated that the Government stands by the scheduled date of implementation of April 1,2017, it is apparent that it is almost impossible to meet this deadline.

With the winter session of the Parliament concluding on 16th December, 2016 the immediate probable timeline for approval of the Central Legislations can be only in January 2017 when the Budget Session of the Parliament would commence.

Considering that the States have also to pass the SGST legislation, it appears that 1st September 2017 is the probable date for rollout of GST. The constitutionally mandated deadline is 16th September, 2017.

In our view, delay is not a matter concern as it provides sufficient time to trade and industry to understand the nuances of GST and prepare effectively.

Let us hope that the GST Council decides all contentious issues early.

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