President Pranab Mukherjee has signed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, paving way for it to become law. GST’s signing into law comes after 16 of the 29 states ratified the bill. In August, the bill was unanimously passed both in the Rajya Sahba and Lok Sabha. The bill had to be ratified by a majority of states before it could become law. The implementation of GST will convert the country into “one seamless market” and facilitate smooth transfer of goods and services.
The GST is a single indirect tax, which will subsume most of the Central and State taxes such as the Value Added Tax (VAT), excise duty, service tax, central sales tax, additional customs duty and special additional duty of customs.
A Constitution Amendment Bill needs to be ratified by the legislative Assemblies of at least 50 per cent of the states. The Bill was sent to the President’s secretariat after as many as 19 States, the BJP-ruled Assam being the first, ratified it.
Now that the Bill has got Presidential assent, the Government will notify the GST Council. Headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Council comprises state Finance Ministers. The States will draft their respective GST (SGST) laws with minor variation, incorporating State-based exemptions.