The formation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is likely to be discussed and finalised when the Union Cabinet meets next week, after the GST Bill became law on getting president's assent three days ago (Thursday).
The GST Council will comprise finance ministers of states and the Centre with the responsibility of deciding the GST rate and other modalities relating to the implementation of the GST, for which the deadline has been fixed as April 1, 2017. The Council will be headed by the union finance minister.
"Obviously, it (GST council) will be taken to the cabinet. The next cabinet meeting, whenever that is, will take up the issue," revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia was quoted as saying by PTI on Friday.
The president's approval to the Bill followed more than 15 states ratifying the legislation after the amended constitutional Bill was passed unanimously by both Houses of the Parliament last month.
"We have kept a very stiff target and the reason is that there is a great national aspiration in support of a reform that GST is, and state after state within a period of 20-25 days have kept on ratifying it because they stand to benefit the most," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said.
The GST standard rate will be keenly watched by both India Inc. and political parties. While the industry wants the standard rate to be kept at around 18 percent, some states had hinted at a higher rate fearing revenue loss. The Congress has been consistently insisting that the rate be capped at 18 percent. Besides, items that will be kept out of the purview of the GST will also be observed closely; as of now, five petroleum products have been kept out of the GST.
On Friday, Meghalaya became the 21st state and the fifth Congress-ruled to ratify the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, after Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, reported IANS.