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GST Bill unanimously passed in Parliament, 443 members in LS vote in favour


Paving the way for the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, the Lok Sabha on Monday unanimously passed amendments to 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill as approved by the Rajya Sabha.

The Constitutional Amendment Bill (122nd) was put to vote in Lok Sabha, where it was cleared with the votes of 443 members.

Earlier, intervening at the end of four hour long discussion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the GST is a great step by team India towards transformation and transparency in tax regime. He said it will end tax terrorism.

Dubbing the achievement as a 'great Step by Team India', he asserted that the indirect tax reform will help curb the menace of corruption.

"Today is 8th August. Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Quit India movement began on this day. GST is a great step by Team India, great step towards transformation. This can't be seen as a victory of a party or government, it is a win for the democratic ethos of India. We say a lot about corruption but to eradicate corruption it is important to strengthen our system as well," he said amid a thumping applause from the members.

Thanking all political parties for reaching a consensus on the GST, Prime Minister Modi said a trust has now developed between the Centre and states.

"I want to thank all parties, state governments. We are taking a decision which the Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and the states have thought about in great detail. When I was the chief minister, I too had some questions over GST. I had discussed a lot with (then Finance Minister) Pranab Mukherjee. A trust between the Centre and states has developed. This was not about a parliamentary majority. This is about consensus," he said.

"A lot of flaws have been overcome as far as the GST is concerned. GST-ek moti hum maala mein piro rhe hain jo 'Ek Bharat' ko taakat deta hai (GST is a garland which binds India as one powerful nation). Passage of GST proved that issues are above politics in India," he added.

Elucidating the benefits of GST, the Prime Minister said this Bill will bring uniformity in taxes and affect consumers and inflation positively.

"With GST, we intend to bring in uniformity in taxes. The message is clear that the 'consumer is the king'. If we utilize man, machine, material, money and minute (time), we will not need any other policy for economic advancement," he said.

"With GST, the states will earn more. We need to strike a balance between the economy of western India and eastern India. Strength of GST is technology, as it will have real-time data. Most of the things that can impact consumers and inflation have been kept out of the ambit of GST," he added.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier told the Lok Sabha that the aim of the GST Bill is to make India come under 'one nation, one tax' regime, adding the proposed bill aims to eradicate tax evasion, multiplicity and cascading effects of tax.

"We are making an attempt to make 'one nation, one tax' to avoid complexities," Jaitley said.

"If one pays tax at one stage, they won't have to give another tax on that tax component. So, tax on tax will be eradicated," he added.

The GST Bill has been tabled in the Lok Sabha to make necessary changes in accordance with the amendments made in the Rajya Sabha.

The GST Bill, which is said to be India's biggest reform till date, will be ratified in the lower house where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak.

Last week, the GST Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha with the thumping majority of 203 votes.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members, however, walked out of the Upper House and abstained from voting

After its passage in the Lok Sabha, the Bill will go to the state assemblies for ratification. The Bill needs to be ratified by half of the assemblies to become a law.

After the amendments are carried out, Parliament will pass the GST and Integrated GST Bills and the assemblies will pass state GST Bill for the roll out of the tax reform in the country.

The Chief Ministers have assured that if required they would call a special session for the passage of the Bill in their state assemblies.

The GST is aimed at bringing uniform tax regime in the country by subsuming state levies.

Under it, a single rate of GST will replace various taxes to ensure seamless transfer of goods and services.

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First Published: Mon, August 08 2016. 20:42 IST