Bills

Lok Sabha passes Bills to extend GST to J&K

Dream of economic integration of the country fulfilled, says Jaitley


New Delhi, August 2:  

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed two crucial Bills extending the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to Jammu & Kashmir.

The lower house passed the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir), Bill, 2017 and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir), Bill, 2017 after a brief discussion.

The two Bills sought to replace ordinances promulgated by the President in July this year.

While the first Bill provides for the extension of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 to Jammu and Kashmir, the other provides for the extension of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax IGST Act, 2017 to the State.

Replying to the discussion, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that GST’s extension to Jammu and Kashmir was a positive step for the State and the country.

“The dream of economic integration of the country has been fulfilled,” he said.

Special status safeguarded

Jaitley also did not agree with the contention of the Congress that GST infringed upon the special status of the State. The special status was never created for economic impediment of the State, he said.

“A national party like Congress should not have got into it. The argument against GST was given by the separatists as it would lead to greater integration with India,” he said.

It may be recalled that Jammu & Kashmir State Assembly had already passed the State Goods and Services Tax and integrated it with the GST regime.

Rates defended

Meanwhile, in his reply, Jaitley also defended the GST rate structure specified by the GST Council on sanitary napkins and hybrid cars.

“The GST Council has a lot of experts. There are a lot of Finance Ministers and many of them are economists. Therefore, we have the benefit of their services. All the States decide. The State Commissioners are also technical people who have learned this trade. So, they are not fixing up these rates casually.

“They will see the principle of equivalence; they will see the principle of revenue neutrality; they will see what the maximum burden is on a domestic consumer; they will see how Make in India brand is to be strengthened and field not left open for foreign products to just come in, by making such an inverse charge,” he said.

(This article was published on August 2, 2017)

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