The gross GST revenue for September rose 2.2 per cent to Rs 1,62,712 crore from Rs 1,59,069 crore in August.
Although happy discussing the four follow-up Bills on the GST law, Rajya Sabha members today expressed fears over implementation of the new indirect tax law, and propose to move amendments to ensure Parliamentary control over GST Council decisions and other changes.
The amendments, likely to be moved by Congress, Trinamul Congress and the CPI (M), will not worry the Government much as the Bills were introduced in the House as Money Bills by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and the amendments, even if approved by the House because of majority support with the Opposition, will be only recommendatory in nature.
The four Bills related to Central GST, Integrated GST, GST Compensation and Union Territory GST were passed by the Lok Sabha last week.
Congress and other members said the GST law, proposed nearly two decades ago, was delayed by several years due to the partisan attitude of the BJP when the Congress-led UPA wanted it enacted. Mr Anand Sharma (Congress), initiating the debate, said the loss suffered by the nation due to this delay was today of academic interest only. He said he would not question the introduction of the Bills as Money Bills, but certainly the Rajya Sabha was for quite some time not being allowed to have say on important Bills.
Mr Sharma said there were too many slabs of the tax from five per cent to 20 per cent, including one under the IGST of 40 per cent. The 18 per cent for most items would prove to be inflationary. All over the world, the GSTs were less than 18 per cent. There were no rules in place, and the scope for discretionary rulings was great, he said, adding that there were too many exclusions. Petroleum products, real estate and electricity were kept out of the law. Hardly any time was left for GST’s 1t July roll-out, and working groups on health, banking and insurance were just set up, Mr SHarma pointed out.
Mr Derek O’Brien (Trinamul Congress) quoted BJP leaders including Mr Jaitlety’s speeches made while in Opposition, expressing doubts over the GST law. But, he said, the Rajya Sabha Select Committee did commendable work, working out consensus, even if it meant months of negotiations. He said his party would support the Bills but he would be moving an amendment to ensure that GST Council decisions come up before Parliament for approval.
Mr Bhupender Yadav (BJP) said the Council would take care of the States’ interests. The GST law would usher in fair competition, lead to larger indirect tax collections, which will finally boost direct tax revenue also. Mr Naresh Agarwal (Samajwadi Party) said electricity, alcohol, tobacco were exempt. “I oppose the Bills brought as Money Bills,’ he said. Why is the CAG kept out of the law, Mr Digvijaya Singh (Congress) asked. There would be economic anarchy in the country if there was no proper infrastructure to implement the law, he said.