GST council to determine tax rates

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 29 2010, 05:39am hrs
The Goods and Services Tax Council comprising the finance minister, minister of state for finance and state finance ministers will have the powers to determine the tax rates, the list of exempted items and other issues in the GST regime, the government informed Parliament on Tuesday.

GST council as proposed in the tentative draft of Constitutional (Amendment) Bill shall have powers to determine the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Centre , the States and the local bodies which shall be subsumed in the goods and services tax, the rates of GST,, minister of state for finance SS Palanimanickam said in a reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

The council will give veto powers to its members so that any decision regarding the GST is done with each members consent. Further, there will also a dispute settlement authority to adjudicate any dispute or complaint wether any State Government or the Government of India has failed to comply with any of the decisions of the GST Council.

GST, the proposed indirect tax regime, will do away with most of the indirect State and Central levies and bring one common tax for all states. Although, in the recent meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST, the Centre has proposed three slabsone standard rate for goods, other for services, and a lower rate for essential goods. To introduce GST where states would have the power to levy tax on services and Centre would levy taxes currently levied by States, a constitutional amendment would need to be done.

The draft for the amendment has already been prepared and referred to the Empowered Committee for their views. The draft contains proposals regarding the GST council and dispute settlement authorityGST Dispute Settlement Authority.

GST has to be introduced by April 2011 in the country, as announced by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The introduction will also require integration of the Information Technology network and the infrastructure as the state and central indirect taxes would need to be integrated into one GST.