GST Const Amendment Bill to be introduced in Budget session

New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) The Government will introduce theConstitution Amendment Bill in the forthcoming Budget sessionto pave the way for introduction of the long-awaited Goods andServices Tax (GST).

The Bill figures in the list of legislative business forthe Budget session that was released by the government today.

The other important economic legislations slated to betaken up by the government in Parliament include the Companies(Amendment) Bill 2009 and the Chartered Accountants(Amendment) Bill 2010.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2011 (Goods andServices Tax) seeks to establish a framework for introductionof the proposed GST regime.

The government originally planned to roll out GST fromApril 1 last year but a consensus could not be built onintroduction of the Bill, which is required to be passed bytwo-third majority in both the Houses of Parliament.

GST would subsume most of the central and state taxeslike excise and sales tax, making rules easier for theindustry and other tax payers.

GST, expected to change India''s fiscal landscape, hasfaced several roadblocks as states feared that their autonomywould be compromised.

There have been disagreements on issues like constitutionof the GST Council, which will govern the tax regime, and onthe powers to be conferred on the central government and theUnion Finance Minister.

Opposition by NDA-ruled state governments has beenspecially vehement.

After a recent meeting with the Empowered Committee ofState Finance Ministers, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee hadsaid that the government will seek to introduce the Bill inthe forthcoming Budget session.

In its latest GST constitution amendment draft -- thethird of its kind -- the Centre has proposed to give power toParliament for constituting the GST council.

The two earlier drafts had to be discarded because ofopposition by some states who said the Bill would curb theirfiscal autonomy.

Besides the GST Bill, the Companies (Amendment) Bill2009, which seeks to replace the half-a-century old Act, willalso be brought before Parliament for consideration andpassage.

The new Companies Bill, besides other things, promisesgreater shareholder democracy and stricter corporategovernance norms. It was introduced in Parliament in theaftermath of the Rs 14,000 crore Satyam scam. .

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