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Congress to press for five changes in GST Bill


New Delhi: Congress has decided to press for five changes in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, which the Centre proposes to roll out from April 2016.

Sources in Congress said that the party will press for inclusion of tobacco and electricity under the GST regime,
which are so far exempted. They also want that one per cent of tax, which has been imposed over and above GST to compensate the manufacturing states is removed.

The party feels that if that provision was implemented only states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu will benefit at the cost of other states.

Besides it wants that the government should mention the compensation formulae in the bill.

“The compensation formulae should be specified. What is it. It has been left vague. The bill only says there will be a compensation formulae,” a leader said.

Congress will also stress for restoring a dispute settlement provision in the bill, which it said, existed in the earlier bill introduced by UPA’s Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

“It should be restored. The GST council cannot settle disputes. We should have some dispute settlement mechanism,” the leader said.

Claiming that right now the GST rate is a “recipe for disaster”, Congress said that it also wants that the bill should set a ceiling on GST rate.

“We want the Act to say that the GST rate shall not exceed 18 per cent. If we do not say that it could be anything,” the leader said stressing that Congress wants GST to be a ‘Good and Simple Tax’ and not Goods and Service Tax.

The party took a conscious decision to make these five demands during a conference of Congress Chief Ministers here this month.

Touted as the single biggest indirect tax reform since Independence, the GST will subsume various levies like excise duty, service tax, entry tax and octroi

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