Passage of GST is 'symbol of a healthy tradition': Jitendra Singh

| Updated: Aug 04, 2016 18:00 IST

New Delhi, Aug. 4 (ANI): Congratulating all political parties for supporting the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh on Thursday said the passage of this legislation is a symbol of a healthy tradition. "The passage of GST is a symbol of a healthy tradition. All the political parties rose above differences and took a good decision for the benefit of the nation. I congratulate them. This took place under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also under the hard work of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley," Singh said. The Rajya Sabha yesterday passed the long-standing 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill commonly known as the GST Bill. The legislation is aimed at bringing uniform tax regime in the country by subsuming state levies. Under it, a single rate of GST will replace Central Excise, State VAT, entertainment, entry and luxury taxes to ensure seamless transfer of goods and services. Replying to over six hour long debate on the Bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government would try for the most reasonable rate for GST. He said the system will become more efficient with GST, adding there would be no tax on tax and evasion would become more difficult. He also dismissed the apprehension of members that the Centre would have veto power in the proposed GST Council, saying it would have only one-third weightage in it. Moving the Bill, Jaitley termed the legislation as one of the most significant tax reforms in the country's history. He said the GST Bill would boost the economy, which is now in a critical stage and put in place a uniform market in the country. Jaitley said the bill will enable a seamless country-wide transfer of goods besides empowering the Centre and the states to increase their revenues. He said it would also bring down tax evasions and bring all transactions under the ambit of taxation. The Finance Minister said the GST would serve the interest of the federal system in the best possible manner. Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram earlier initiating the discussion demanded that the standard rate of GST should not exceed 18 percent as suggested by the Chief Economic Advisor. He said that his party would campaign across the country to garner support in favour of the standard rate. Chidambaram said it is efficient, non-inflationary and will not result in losses to the Centre and the state revenues and also be acceptable to the people. He warned that a rate higher than this would be inflationary, leading to tax evasion. Chidambaram also wanted a dispute resolution authority to take care of any possible dispute. He said the Congress wanted a capping of the GST rate in the bill itself so that it cannot be changed by executive whims. Chidambaram urged the government to introduce the GST and Integrated GST (IGST) bills as a Finance Bill and not as Money Bill for a proper discussion in both the Houses. He said that his party was never opposed to the idea of GST. He said there were too many flaws in the earlier bill and hence the Congress did not support it. Chidambaram welcomed the government's decision of dropping the provision of one percent inter- state transaction tax in the bill. Participating in the debate, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury urged the government to protect the right of states. He said the tax rate of 24 percent would cripple most of the people of the country. On the issue of dispute redressal, Yechury said greater thought must be given to it and it must be spelt out more concretely. He said the bills should be brought back as Finance Bill and not as a Money Bill. (ANI)