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Some progress on draft legislation

Briefing the press after the meeting of the GST Council on 23/12/2016 Shri. Arun Jaitley stated that the Primary draft of CGST and SGST law and the five schedules were cleared except provisions in the draft law relating to dual control and cross empowerment.

Since wordings/ language of few other provisions require redrafting he mentioned that the revised draft would be circulated to the States for finalizing in the next meeting.

He also stated that the GST Council cleared basic draft of the GST Compensation Law and that the language of the provision relating to source of compensation fund is to be redrafted for discussion in the next meeting and that it was agreed that compensation would be disbursed once in two months.

The GST Council is meeting again on 3rd and 4th January 2017 to discuss draft IGST legislation and the contentious issue of Dual Control / cross empowerment. One issue Shri Jaitley mentioned is the definition of “Territory of the State”, which he stated is a matter of Constitutional interpretation. One issue for discussion is whether powers to administer IGST can be shared with the States or should it be by the Central Government.

The issue of approval of the Rate of Tax Schedules remains and maybe it would be taken up by the GST Council after all legislative approvals, issue of compensation and cross empowerment are decided.

West Bengal Finance Minister and Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers stated that in the current Financial Year the States would face huge revenue shortfall and that the estimates of revenue loss to States could be around 70,000 to 80,000 crores. It appears that the States would want a relook on the quantum of compensation in the wake of the demonetization.

Well, there has been considerable progress with each meeting of the GST Council and in this meeting many technical and procedural issues have been cleared.

There is definitely progress towards early implementation and the GST Council is hastening slowly.

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