The April 1, 2017, deadline for the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax looks unlikely as the sixth meeting of the GST Council in Delhi ended inconclusively on Sunday, with the Centre and states failing to resolve outstanding matters. Most of the duration of the Council’s meeting was spent on going through the clauses of the three draft laws dealing with the tax – the central Goods and Services Tax, the integrated GST and the compensation for states, PTI reported.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Council “had a discussion which was exclusively on the legislative drafting”, according to The Times of India. “In the draft legislation there are about 195 sections. So it is the core bill of the legislation. We discussed 99 sections and a few clauses need to be redrafted,” Jaitley said, adding that the matter would be resolved by the Council’s next meeting on December 22-23.
However, the Council was not able to discuss outstanding issues such as the dual control of assessees, leading Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac to say that the April 1 deadline set by the Centre for the roll out of the new regime looked “out of the picture”. “GST can be rolled out only by September,” Isaac said, while noting that the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes had affected states’ trust.
While the draft laws were set to be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing Winter Session, the Centre may now place them for discussion during the Budget Session, which will begin in January. An unidentified officials from the Finance Ministry told the news agency that the passage of the laws through Parliament and state Assemblies would only be a procedural matter once they were approved by the Council.
The GST Bill got President Pranab Mukherjee’s approval on September 8, after being ratified by 16 states. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 3. It seeks to replace India’s complicated tax regime comprising 17 different charges with a single levy.