With President’s approval, GST to become law from April 1 2017

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President Pranab MukerjeeIn a landmark decision, President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Constitution Amedment Bill on the Goods and Services Tax (GST), thereby rolling out an indirect tax regime in the country.

After the presidential approval, the focus shifts to related acts that remain to be passed by the Centre as well as the states. Also the GST Council has to be constituted for deciding the tax rate, cess and surcharges.

The GST is a single indirect tax, which will also include most Central and State taxes such as Value Added Tax, excise duty, service tax, central sales tax, additional customs duty and special additional duty of customs.

The government plans to introduce the Central GST bill as a money bill though the opposition, led by Congress, demands the bill be brought as a non-money bill. A money bill makes the Rajya Sabha’s role negligible. The BJP, leading the ruling NDA, is not in a comfortable position in the Upper House.

The GST bill was sent to the President’s secretariat after as many as 17 states, led by BJP-ruled Assam, ratified the bill. The Andhra Pradesh assembly ratified the bill on September 8.