Discussions Begin for Creation of Secretariat to Assist GST Council

By | September 7, 2016
The government has begun the groundwork for creation of a secretariat to cater to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, which will be constituted after Presidential assent for the Constitution Amendment Bill enabling implementation of the proposed tax.
The government wants the institutional arrangements ready so that the GST Council can start deliberating the nuances of the law quickly .
“Internal discussions have started…A secretariat would support the Council’s work,“ a government official told ET.
The Council will take crucial decisions, from deciding the GST rate and the exemptions to finalising the central, state and integrated GST laws and rules and the administrative structure.
The Council is a joint body of the states and the centre, which will control two-thirds and onethird of the votes, respectively. All decisions will be taken with a three-fourth majority . The secretariat will be responsible for speedily exchanging proposals and views between the centre and the states.
“The idea is to keep the basic structure ready so that work can begin expeditiously ,“ the official said, adding that the overall view was to keep the structure efficient and lean.
At present, the empowered committee of state finance ministers on GST has a very lean secretariat that essentially functions as a platform for exchanges between states and the centre. A dedicated secretariat is expected to speed up work.
The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill was passed by Parliament on August 8. It has to be ratified by 50% of the state assemblies and has been approved by 17. Once Presidential assent is received, the GST Council headed by the Union finance minister with state finance ministers as members will be set up.
GST will subsume indirect taxes levied by the central and state governments, including excise duty , service tax, VAT, entertainment tax, entry tax and luxury tax. Keeping in mind an implementation date of April 1, 2017, the government is moving swiftly to prepare the basic administrative framework, including the structure of the secretariat, the official said. – www.economictimes.indiatimes.com [07-09-2016]

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