Goods and Services tax (GST) has been identified as one of most important tax reforms post-independence. It is a tax trigger, which will lead to business transformation for all major industries.

Given the passage of the Constitution (101st) Amendment Bill, 2016 for GST in the Parliament on 8 August 2016, ratification of the said Bill by more than 15 states by early September followed by its enactment, and passage of four GST Bills in the Lok Sabha on 29 March 2017 and Rajya Sabha on 6 April 2017, with the clear road map being laid down by the Finance Ministry, the Government of India seems to be on course to implementing GST with effect from 1 July 2017.

The GST Council consisting of representatives from the Centre as well as the states, after being constituted, met on twelve occasions to discuss various issues including dual control, GST laws, exemptions, thresholds, rate structure, compensation cess etc. and reached consensus on the same. Council has also recommended four-tier GST rate structure and the thresholds.

The Bills introduced in the Lok Sabha, during the ongoing Budget session of the Parliament, include Central GST (CGST), Integrated GST (IGST), Union Territory GST (UTGST) and the Bill for Compensation to States. Discussion on the Bills commenced on 29 March 2017 and were passed on the same day after a long debate. According to media reports, the GST Bills, although introduced as Money Bills, shall be taken up for discussion in both houses of the Parliament before their passage in the current session.

The Bills were earlier cleared by the GST Council, followed by a Union Cabinet approval. The revised draft of the Model GST law, which was released in the public domain in November 2016, has been split into CGST, SGST and UTGST Bills apart from IGST Bill. The draft of the Model GST Law underwent further changes before being introduced in the Parliament.

Union territories with legislature, i.e., Delhi & Puducherry, will adopt SGST Act and the balance 5 Union territories without legislatures will adopt UTGST Act.

Meanwhile, Centre and States have already begun the enrolment process for migrating existing taxpayers to the proposed tax regime through GST common portal.