Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
In picture: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Udaipur to attend the 10th GST Council Meeting.Twitter/Ministry of Finance

The Draft Compensation Bill was passed by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council at its 10th meeting in Udaipur on Saturday. It is now ready to be presented by the Central government in the next session of Parliament.

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The Bill — approved in the meeting chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and finance ministers of states and Union Territories, as well as their senior officers — could lead to heated debates in the next Parliament session, with the Opposition vigorously raising its voice against it. The next meeting of the GST Council will take place in New Delhi on March 4 and 5, when draft bills such as CGST, IGST and SGST will be taken up.

Speaking about the decision to pass the Draft Compensation Bill, Jaitley said: "We did not discuss the anti-profiteering clause in this GST Council meeting. Will require one major meeting after March 4-5 to give approval to those specific items in relation to each of the slabs."

Politics over GST

GST has been a hot topic of debate from the day the concept was mooted. It seeks to abolish taxes like VAT and bring the entire taxation regime under one umbrella — a step that will greatly simplify tax matters. Thus, any political party or coalition successful in bringing it will consider it a moral victory and will look to claim credit for it. This credit can then be used for electoral gains.

The BJP-led NDA regime in power at the Centre will look to pass this Draft Compensation Bill as is. If that is done, the party will look to claim the entire credit for it. On its part, the Congress will look to introduce as many changes to it as possible, and then claim credit for helping shape the bill correctly, because the BJP was not doing a good job.