Speech by the Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley in Lok Sabha on 122nd Amendment of the Constitution – GST Bill 2014

SPEECH BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE ARUN JAITELY INTRODUCTION OF Goods & Service Tax Bill (GST) 2014 BILL in Lok Sabha

Arun Jaitely,Minister of Finance

There are two important points which I want to make in response to the Members. Any Bill can be opposed if it lacks either legislative competence of the Parliament or if it violates fundamental rights in the context of an ordinary legislation and basic structure as far as the constitution amendment is concerned.None of the objections come within that parameter.

Let me remind the hon. Members that this Bill has earlier been introduced and cleared by the Standing Committee. The object behind the GST is to have a seamless transfer of goods and services across the country.

Let there be no tax on tax. On the destination principle, the tax is at the last stage.

The Standing Committee has cleared it and was discussed repeatedly, the former Finance Minister discussed it repeatedly with the Empowered Committee and the State Governments.

I have met several Chief Ministers and Finance Ministers and discussed this issue with them individually also. A smaller group came and met me, which comprised of people from various political parties. They wanted some change in the language which was to give more liberal rights to the States. I acknowledged that request. We have made sure that no State will lose a rupee of revenue.

Service tax is entirely in the domain of the Centre today. It is going to be shared with States now. From 2010 to 2013, the CST compensation which was payable to the States, amongst the various debts which have been left behind on my table by the UPA, this is one of them. They have not paid.

I will try to pay in this financial year itself. We will make sure that no State loses. We are interested in strengthening the States because then only the national economy will be strengthened. The Government will be open to all suggestions till the very last minute.

Just as in the case of VAT which was the fear of the unknown that will go down, the Centre benefited, the States benefited. We will address the concerns of each State. We will ensure that their rights are preserved. No State is a loser.