Final GST Council meeting to finalise GST laws
Ranjeet Mahtani & Sweta Rajan
Prior to its last meeting, the GST Council (a legislative body) had sent the draft GST laws to a legal committee to ensure that the fundamentals agreed upon by the Council were appropriately reflected in the language of the draft laws. During the meeting on February 18, 2017, the GST Council discussed various issues in the legally vetted draft GST laws, finalised some issues, and discussed others without finality. The draft laws are expected to be approved by the Council during its next meeting on March 4 and 5, 2017. If the same get approved, the draft IGST and CGST laws, as also the Compensation laws (which is already approved by the Council) would be presented before the Parliament in the second leg of the Budget session, commencing on March 9, 2017.
The SGST draft law will be presented in State assemblies, and some States may call for a special session of their respective assemblies.
E-permits for inter-State movement of goods: Inter-State movement of goods are required to be supported by a permit that is to be presented at State border check-posts. This requirement in some States has been criticized as hampering seamless movement of goods across State borders, creating long queues of trucks at check posts, and breeding corruption. The Centre had proposed to do away with this system under the GST regime since it is antithetical to the concept of ‘one nation one tax’ a basic tenet of GST, and ease of doing business in India. The Centre has however, owing to State’s insistence, maintained the system under the GST draft laws, though with e-permits instead of paper permits. The States sought to include this provision in the draft laws to check the quantum of inter-State supply of goods.
‘CBEC GST’ App: The Central Board of Excise and Customs has launched a mobile application for GST, on which taxpayers can access following:
- Draft GST laws and rules
- FAQs on GST
- Processes relating to migration to GST
- Various documents, presentations, reports and interviews of authorities in relation to GST.
There is an option to provide feedback, as also a helpdesk to reach out to the CBEC.
The app is a one-stop shop for taxpayers to find all that there is to know on GST. While there are other existing applications which provide similar information, as a Government initiative, it promises to be up to date. As India moves towards GST, in a technology based format, this initiative of the CBEC is much appreciated. In line with the approach of other jurisdictions world over, which has robust government run web portals, it is hoped that the CBEC will keep at such initiatives in the future as well.