GST Updates (16 Nov 2016)



As Centre Readies GST Bill, Subramanian Swamy to Move SC Against GST Network

November 16, 2016

Three bills on the much-awaited Goods & Services Tax (GST) will see light of day in the winter session of Parliament beginning Wednesday, but the government’s prestige legislation is all set to hit a Subramanian Swamy block.

The BJP Rajya Sabha MP has objected to private players being involved in setting up the infrastructure of the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) and told News18 that he will take up the matter in the Supreme Court.

This comes at a time when the Centre and state governments have finally come together in agreement over GST and come out with a four slab structure.

Swamy said he is approaching the Supreme Court as he feared sensitive GST data might fall into the hands of private players and “foreign interests” if the Centre goes ahead with the current structure.

“I have sent half a dozen letters to the Prime Minister in this connection. He has acknowledged it. I have also sent the copies to BJP president Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar,” Swamy told News18.

“The GSTN will be controlled by private players with majority foreign shareholder organisations like HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, LIC Housing Finance Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd and NSE Strategic Investment Corp Ltd. No opportunity was given to Indian companies with majority Indian shareholdings and nationalised banks to become shareholders. It poses a serious threat. I am challenging it before the Supreme Court in the national interest,” he said.

According to Swamy, in 2011 when Pranab Mukherjee was Finance Minister, the Centre had decided that GSTN would be owned by three government stakeholders: the Central government, the state governments and the Centre-owned National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL). Training his guns on former finance minister P Chidambaram, Swamy said that he had dropped NSDL and added five private players making it look like a private body for profits.

The Constitution Amendment Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha in its report accessed by News18 has expressed serious concerns over the structure of GSTN. The report said, “The committee noted that the non government shareholding in GSTN is dominated by private banks, and this is not desirable. It recommended that the non-government institution shareholding be limited to public sector banks and financial institutions.”

Swamy has forwarded all his correspondence on the GSTN with the Centre to President Pranab Mukherjee, informing him that he was free for any consultation on the subject. He said that the Comptroller and Auditor General had no jurisdiction over the GSTN in its current form and it could lead to a huge scam. He has also questioned the rationale behind outsourcing computer programming to private IT companies alleging that mandatory procedures were not followed before awarding such contracts.

“I once again strongly urge the Prime Minister Modi to direct the complete stay of all operations of the presently constituted GSTN. At the same time I will also be moving the SC seeking cancellation of it,” he said. Source – www.news18.com [15-11-2016]


Passage of GST bill could take a hit over Modi’s demonetisation move

November 16, 2016
Will the Opposition’s onslaught against the Centre over the demonetisation affect the passage of the goods and service tax (GST) bill?

A confident government may bring the GST bill by early next week in Rajya Sabha, indicating it is not perturbed at the ongoing protests against another of its financial reforms — the demonetisation scheme.

The Centre wants to pass the GST bill to roll out the new tax regime from April 1, 2017. The proposed tax, which will absorb local levies and indirect taxes, has already missed many deadlines.

“We are getting the Constitution amended for GST on which discussions have been on since long… since Congress’ time. I am confident that we will do those amendments and pass the GST,” home minister Rajnath Singh said recently.

But for the Congress, the priority is to corner the BJP-led NDA over the demonetisation of 1,000 and 500 rupee notes. “Right now, the main issue is the surgical jumla (drama) of the demonetisation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The GST is not in our radar screen,” said Congress strategist and Rajya Sabha MP, Jairam Ramesh.

Even as the government may not require the Opposition’s support to pass the GST legislation, a united opposition might as well delay the passage of the bill through chaos and ruckus in the House. The Rajya Sabha may not get a chance to vote on the GST bill as the government is likely to introduce it as a money bill — such bills do not require the approval of the Upper House.

“I think the GST is a forgotten issue. Let us first see if the session runs or not. Then only the possibility of GST being passed arises,” said Ramesh.

In the last session, the government managed to pass the Constitution amendment bill on the GST as the Congress and other opposition parties came on board. Now, with a hostile opposition gunning for the BJP-led government, it might be a tricky situation for pushing the GST bill.

“Thousands of ‘rich’ and ‘corrupt’ persons standing in queue. The poor are cheering from their homes! Banks are doling out cash to citizens. That is proof that ‘Achhe Din’ has arrived! Millions of working people standing in queue. Long live productivity,” former finance minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday tweeted, taking potshots at the government. Source -www.hindustantimes.com [16-11-2016]

Congress expresses opposition to 4-tier GST rate structure

November 15, 2016
Ahead of the winter session of Parliament, Congress on Monday expressed its opposition to the proposed four-tier Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate structure which goes up to 28 per cent, insisting that it would hit hard the common man “Congress has always been insisting that the rate should not be more than 18 per cent as it would lead to rise in inflation and burden the common man”.

“Now it is being revealed that Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitleywho were having ambivalent position on the GST (when in the opposition) are now talking of a tax of 27 per cent”, party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala told reporters.

He said that the Congress would “certainly oppose” the multiple rates of the GST up to 28 per cent as it would “break the back of the common man”.

Earlier this month, the GST Council, overcoming opposition from some states finalised a multiple-slab rate structure, including the cess, for the new indirect tax The quantum of cess on each of these will depend on the current incidence of tax.

While on nearly half of the consumer inflation basket, including food grains, the GST will be at 0 per cent, ultra luxuries, demerit and sin goods, will attract a cess for a period of five years on top of the 28 per cent GST.

The highest slab of 28 per cent will include white goods and all those items on which the current rate of incidence varies from 30-31 per cent.

Centre will have to pass the CGST and IGST bills in Parliament at the earliest to meet the deadline of roll out of GST from April 1 next year Source – http://www.indianexpress.com [14-11-2016]

State tax officers demand fair share in GST

November 15, 2016
State tax officers demand fair share in GST

In a unique way of protest, about 2.36 lakh officers and employees working with commercial and sales tax departments of various states will work on Sunday to press for their demand of having a fair share in the administration of taxes under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The All India Confederation of Commercial Taxes Association (AICCTA) said its members will also go on day-long pen down strike on November 23 if their demands are not accepted by the government.

The confederation has decided that all its members will work on November 20, which is Sunday, to protest the way the administration of GST has been planned by the Centre.

“It is a positive form of protest by working on a general holiday,” the employees’ body said.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has called an informal meeting of state finance ministers to discuss the matters of dual control and cross empowerment on Sunday.

Earlier this week, different delegations of the confederation met finance ministers of various states to seek their support.

The confederation claims to represent over 36,000 Gazetted officers and about two lakh employees of Class-Ill and-IV categories.

The confederation has sought complete authority relating to monitoring, audit, assessment and enforcement activities provided either under the GST Act or under the Integrated Goods and Services Tax-to be levied on all inter-state supplies of goods and services.

“It is also demanded that the state authorities should also be empowered under IGST Actto administer matters relating to interstate transactions,” as per a memorandum submitted to the Finance Ministry.

The officers’ body has sought representation of officers from the states in GST council secretariat.

“It is demanded that the GST council provide sufficient funds to the states to establish a uniform infrastructural and networking system,” it said.

The confederation has said that they would not work on November 23 to protest against non-implementation of its demands and for a just and fair tax administration under the GST regime.

The proposed GST is a single tax on supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer.  Source -http://economictimes.indiatimes.com [14-11-2016]

State tax officers demand fair share in GST

November 15, 2016
State tax officers demand fair share in GST

In a unique way of protest, about 2.36 lakh officers and employees working with commercial and sales tax departments of various states will work on Sunday to press for their demand of having a fair share in the administration of taxes under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The All India Confederation of Commercial Taxes Association (AICCTA) said its members will also go on day-long pen down strike on November 23 if their demands are not accepted by the government.

The confederation has decided that all its members will work on November 20, which is Sunday, to protest the way the administration of GST has been planned by the Centre.

“It is a positive form of protest by working on a general holiday,” the employees’ body said.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has called an informal meeting of state finance ministers to discuss the matters of dual control and cross empowerment on Sunday.

Earlier this week, different delegations of the confederation met finance ministers of various states to seek their support.

The confederation claims to represent over 36,000 Gazetted officers and about two lakh employees of Class-Ill and-IV categories.

The confederation has sought complete authority relating to monitoring, audit, assessment and enforcement activities provided either under the GST Act or under the Integrated Goods and Services Tax-to be levied on all inter-state supplies of goods and services.

“It is also demanded that the state authorities should also be empowered under IGST Actto administer matters relating to interstate transactions,” as per a memorandum submitted to the Finance Ministry.

The officers’ body has sought representation of officers from the states in GST council secretariat.

“It is demanded that the GST council provide sufficient funds to the states to establish a uniform infrastructural and networking system,” it said.

The confederation has said that they would not work on November 23 to protest against non-implementation of its demands and for a just and fair tax administration under the GST regime.

The proposed GST is a single tax on supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer.  Source -http://economictimes.indiatimes.com [14-11-2016]

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