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GST council approves ‘bulk of critical provisions’: Jaitley

New Delhi [India]: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the GST Council had a discussion which was exclusively on the legislative drafting as a detailed CGST and SGST legislation, which is the most principle legislation, adding that bulk of the critical provisions were approved today.

“We had a discussion which was exclusively on the legislative drafting. We have approved bulk of the critical provisions today. There is one section that needs to be redrafted and one-two others, which have been flagged, will be coming towards the end, which will depend on the cross empowerment issue, which we are leaving aside, and therefore, the discussion on the legislation and its approval of each section is moving quite satisfactorily, and hopefully in the next meeting we will be able to clear it,” Jaitley say during a media briefing after the GST Council meeting here.

Divulging details of today’s agenda, he said, “Today’s agenda was legislation; and, a detailed CGST and SGST legislation, which is the most principle legislation, was being discussed since the last meeting. Thus, today only this agenda was discussed. And, all major aspects of the Bill were discussed under the agenda.

“This discussion takes place section by section and chapter by chapter, because before Parliament or state legislators consider the law, it is necessary that the GST Council approve it. So, the Council is really the legislation drafting body and it is important that the section by section, chapter by chapter each provisions, its language etc is settled by the Council.”

He said in the draft legislation, there are approximately 195 sections; so, it is a detail and core Bill as far as the GST implementation is concerned.

“We started today discussing it and we have gone up to cross 99. There are few clauses that were redrafted and would be put up before the Council again in the seventh meeting. After that discussion on this Bill will be completed, which I hope will be completed in the next meeting of the Council,” said the Finance Minister.

He further said then there are two other laws – the Compensation Law and the IGST law -which are smaller in size, at least in number of sections; the main principles are to be settled in this law and then we would be taking on those laws. “Simultaneously, we would be taking up the issue of the cross empowerment, particularly in the context of the IGST Law.”

The next sitting of the fifth meeting was tomorrow, but some of the states raised the issue since the holy festival of Eid is tomorrow and many ministers would like to be in their constituencies, so they asked for the deferment of the date for tomorrow and the Council, therefore, decided to defer it, he added.

The next meeting will be on December 22-23.

The finalisation of these laws will pave the way for the introduction of GST legislations in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, which ends on December 16.

The Finance Minister has said the new regime will have to be put in place latest by September 16, 2017. (ANI)