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Govt may advance Parliament session to get GST laws approved

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New Delhi, Aug 28 (PTI) Eager to meet the April 1 targetto roll out the landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST), thegovernment may advance Winter Session of Parliament by afortnight to get supporting legislations passed, leavingsufficient time for implementation of the new indirect taxregime. Winter Session of Parliament is normally convened in thethird or fourth week of November but this year the governmentis looking at starting the month-long session immediatelyafter the end of festive season. An early Winter Session would help get the Central GST(CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) legislations, that will paveway for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), to be approvedwithin November or latest by early December, governmentofficials said. The two are supporting legislations to the ConstitutionalAmendment Bill approved in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.Requiring ratification by half of the 31 states for it tobecome a law, the Constitution Amendment Bill has already beenratified by 8 state assemblies including Assam, Bihar,Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi andMadhya Pradesh. Maharashtra and Haryana are likely to follow suit soon andthe requisite numbers may be in place by September, anofficial said. "With required number of states ratifying the Bill, thereis a thinking that the Winter Session should be advanced toaround November 9 or 10, after the festivities, includingChhath Puja," he said. "In doing that, a consensus with allthe political parties will be needed." The government is of the view that once half of the statelegislatures approve the new national sales tax regime, theGST Council – comprising Union finance minister and statefinance ministers, can be nudged to quickly approve the taxrate, slabs and exemptions for it to be incorporated in thesupporting legislations. Parliament nod to the legislations in the Winter Sessionwould give enough time to prepare for the rollout of GST fromApril 1, 2017. The new regime will subsume excise, service taxand other local levies including VAT, octroi. Government is of the view that an early Winter Sessionwill also be beneficial as the Budget Session is planned to beconvened in the last week of January. "Presentation of Budget around end-January is underconsideration and hence an early Winter Session also paves wayfor an early Budget Session," the official said. MORE PTI JDANZ ANUABM

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