gst council rollout indirect taxes arun jaitley state finance ministers legislation bill petrol products movement trucks stranded taxes octroi hardship seamless
Truck drivers wait for their turn to submit documents to get their loads cleared to cross a check post in Palakkad district in Kerala, Sept. 5, 2015. The rollout of a nationwide goods and services tax (GST) is aimed at paving the way for the seamless movement of goods.Reuters file

The first meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council will be held in New Delhi on Sept. 22 and 23 to discuss a range of issues including the standard rate. The Union Cabinet approved the constitution of the GST Council on Monday.

The Council comprising union finance minister, state finance ministers, ex-officio secretary and invitees will get going so as to ensure the roll out of the GST with effect from April 1, 2017. Earlier, the GST Bill was approved by President Pranab Mukherjee after the legislation was ratified by more than 15 states as required under the law.

In an official statement released on Monday, the government said costs pertaining to the establishment and maintenance of the GST Council Secretariat will be borne by the Centre. The Secretariat will have officers from both the Central and state governments.

The GST will replace a plethora of indirect taxes levied by the states and the Centre, and cover many goods and services, except certain petrol products for the time being. The migration to GST is being seen as positive in terms of implementation, compliance and cost-effectiveness, while the flip side is in terms of its inflationary effect in the near term.

Excise duty, central sales tax, octroi, service tax, entertainment tax and value-added tax are some of the taxes that would be replaced by the GST.

The maiden meeting of the GST Council will be keenly watched since the Council not only has the task of fixing the GST rate but also decide on items that would be kept out of the purview of the levy.

"The Finance Minister has also decided to call the first meeting of the GST Council on 22nd and 23rd September 2016 in New Delhi," the Union Cabinet said in a statement.