The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the four GST related bills before they were tabled in the Lok Sabha; the bills are: The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill), The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill), The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill) and The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill).
The GST Council is a body of centre and states empowered to take decisions in respect of GST. Now after the green signal from the Lok Sabha, the bills will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha where the NDA government does not have the majority which may create some hurdles.
"The government is committed to introduction of GST, one of the biggest reforms in the country as early as possible. We have decided July 1 as the date of commencement of GST, and now with Lok Sabha’s green signal, this target is very much achievable," said FM Arun Jaitley. The unified tax will have four slabs of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. Farmers and small traders are exempted. The so called “sin” or “demerit” products such as tobacco items, aerated drinks and luxury cars, would come under the highest tax slab and may attract a cess, which could increase the tax burden up to 40%.
GST roll-out is perceived to create a common market and help lower the tax burden, shore up government revenues, temper inflation and boost economic growth by at least two percentage points. The passage of the bills will remove tax barriers, and subsume a host of indirect taxes levied by the Centre and the states, including excise, service, entertainment, entry, luxury and value-added taxes.
According to a cable & broadcasting industry expert, “Broadcast industry has been demanding rationalisation of multiple taxation for its services since long. Hence, the industry has a lot of expectations from the GST Bill.”
The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the representative body of television broadcasters, too feels the broadcasting sector is unprepared to take a tax hike. “It is important that government recognizes TV services which have evolved over the years as a product/service of mass consumption to be classified and categorized under the item of mass consumption having a GST rate of 5% so that it becomes affordable to masses,” said Punit Goenka, president of IBF.