The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday finally took up discussion on the Goods and Services Tax bill, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moving it for consideration and passage.
While starting the debate, he said that the bill is the most reformative tax reform.
He added that 2/3rd of the voting power in the GST council belongs to states, 1/3rd belongs to the Centre.
The bill will empower states, will increase revenue of states as well as Centre. It'll ensure that there is "no tax on tax”, said the finance minister.
Welcoming the motion, his predecessor and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, “Just as the income tax rate can't be levied at the whim of the executive, and needs legislative approval, the same must also hold true for the goods and services tax rate (GST)”.
Voicing for the GST rate to be incorporated in Constitution amendment bill itself, one of the main demands of his Congress party, he also said an 18 per cent base rate for this pan-India levy was also the most appropriate.
"The empowered committee is the one which arrived at a 15.5 per cent revenue neutral rate and came to the conclusion that 18 per cent should be the appropriate GST rate. The Congress did not suggest the 18 per cent rate -- 18 per cent came out of your report," he said.
His reference was to the committee currently chaired by West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra.