Indian commodity tax sector has been undergoing systemic modifications since the early 1990s as part of the Structural Adjustment Programmes. It commenced with MODVAT which was later modified into CENVAT, then a State level VAT and finally a comprehensive Goods and Services Tax (GST). The proposed GST intends to provide concurrent powers to the Union as well as the States to levy tax on supply of goods and/or services which is a new experiment under Indian Constitution. As a condition precedent to the new tax regime, powers of the national and sub-national governments relating to indirect taxation under the constitution are to be modified substantially and a fresh tax sharing arrangement between these governments is to be developed. For these purposes the Constitution (One Hundred and Fifteenth Amendment) Bill, 2011 (hereinafter the “Amendment Bill?) has been introduced in the Parliament in March 2011. The Amendment Bill seeks, interalia, to subsume various central and state indirect taxes into GST and empowers the Union and the State Governments to levy it on the supply of goods or of services or both. In the proposed GST regime, there will be State GST (SGST) and Central GST (CGST) on the local transactions and Integrated GST (IGST) on interstate transactions and on imports. It is also decided to exclude certain categories of goods from the GST net. The Amendment Bill intends to insert four articles1, modify ten articles2 and omit one article3 in the Constitution. It also proposes one amendment in the Sixth Schedule4 and seven amendments in the Seventh Schedule5. These amendments are capable to make significant changes not only in the potentials of own tax revenue of the Union and the State governments but also in the revenue sharing pattern between them. SGST shall be levied, collected and appropriated by the States whereas CGST shall be levied and collected by the Union but shall form part of the common divisible pool of the Central taxes and duties that are sharable with the States as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission. However, IGST shall be levied and collected by the Union but shall be optionally shareable with the States. Since the modifications proposed in the Amendment Bill are capable to make sweeping changes in the taxation system in the country and might redefine the principles of fiscal federalism under the Indian Constitution, wider discussions are to be held among the policy formulators, academics, business community, tax payers etc. This paper attempts to develop a basis for such a discussion. This article has been written to understand the concept of GST and the need of 115th constitutional amendment that is needed to make this scheme operative.
Cite this article:
Khushal Suryawnshi; Need of 115th Constitutional Amendment Bill in 2011. Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences 2013; 4(1) 56-59