Preparation for GST
PARA 2 OF FIRST DISCUSSION PAPER ON GOODS AND SERVICE TAX BY EMPOWERED COMMITTEE HEADED BY DR ASIM DAS GUPTA.
2.1 Keeping this significance of GST in view, an announcement was made by the then Union Finance Minister in the Union Budget, as mentioned before, to the effect that GST would be introduced from April 1, 2010, and that the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers would work with the Central Government to prepare a road map for introduction of the GST. After this announcement, the Empowered Committee, as stated earlier, had set up a Joint Working Group which submitted a report on a model and road map for GST. After accommodating the views of the States appropriately on this report, the views of the Empowered Committee on the model and road map were sent to the Government of India on 30th April, 2008. The comments of the Government of India were received on 12th December, 2008. These comments were duly considered by the Empowered Committee in its meeting held on 16th December, 2008 and it was decided that a Committee of Principal Secretaries/Secretaries (Finance/Taxation) and Commissioners of Trade Taxes should consider the comments received from the Government of India and submit its views and also
work out the Central GST and State GST rates.
The Committee held detailed deliberations on 5th and 6th January, 2009, and submitted its recommendations to the Empowered Committee. The Empowered Committee considered these recommendations in
its meeting held on 21st January, 2009 and accepted them in principle. The Empowered Committee also decided to constitute a Working Group consisting of Principal Secretaries/Secretaries (Finance/Taxation) and Commissioners of Trade Taxes of all States/UTs to give their recommendations on (a) the commodities and services that should be kept in the exempted list, (b) the rules and principles of taxing the transactions of services including the transactions in inter-State services, and (c) finalization of the model suggested for inter-state transaction/movement of goods including stock transfers in consultation with the State Bank of India and some other nationalized banks. It was also decided that the senior representatives from the Government of India may also be associated. The Working Group deliberated on the issues on 10th February, 2009 and decided to form three Sub Working Groups to deliberate each item in depth. The Reports of the Working Group on the three issues have already been received, and the Empowered Committee has taken a view on these recommendations for concluding the details of GST structure.
2.2 While making this preparation of GST, it was
also necessary, as mentioned earlier, to phase out the CST, because it did not carry any set-off relief and there was a distortion in the VAT regime due to export of tax from one State to other State. The Empowered Committee accordingly took a decision to phase out CST on the understanding with the Centre that, since phasing out of CST would result in a loss of revenue to the States on a permanent basis, an appropriate mechanism to compensate the States for such loss would be worked out. The rate of CST has already been reduced to 2% and will be phased out with effect from the date of introduction of GST on the basis of such GST structure which, with necessary financial support to the States, should adequately compensate for the loss of the States on a permanent basis. With these steps at preparation in mind, it is important now to turn to the proposed model of GST.