Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the new indirect tax regime, was on track and July 1 was going to be its likely date of implementation.
"It (GST) looks on track. Subject to Parliament approval, it looks like the possible date of implementation of GST is July 1," Jaitley said after the 11th GST Council meet concluded in New Delhi.
The Council approved the central GST (cGST) and integrated GST (iGST) draft laws on Saturday.
"Consensus on cGST, iGST law. Both the final draft laws were discussed today. Council has approved both the drafts," Jaitley said.
With the compensation draft law having already been approved in the Council's previous meeting -- held on February 18 in Udaipur -- there are two more draft laws remaining for approval.
"The three laws have got formal approval of GST Council by unanimous decision. All states approved it," he said.
The Union Territory GST (UTGST) and state GST (sGST) draft laws will be taken up for discussion and approval at the Council's next meeting on March 16, Jaitley told reporters at a press briefing.
The sGST and UTGST are replicas of cGST and the settlement of their drafts is only a formality, he said.
"Once these are approved, the four laws - compensation, UTGST, cGST and iGST - will be approved by Cabinet and placed in Parliament in the coming session," Jaitley added.
Meanwhile, the sGST draft law will have to be approved by the legislative assemblies of states and union territories (Delhi, Puducherry).
The UTGST draft law is for the union territories like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which do not have legislative assemblies.
With the approval of the five draft laws, the legislative action of the GST Council will be over, post which there will be another meeting for fitment of the goods and services in the tax slabs - 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent, 28 per cent.
Clearing the air on reports of GST tax rate being increased up to 40 per cent, he said there would not be a higher rate of taxation.
"The four rates have already been decided by the Council. There will be no higher rate of taxation, but the capped rate is always higher to leave some space. Bound rate and applied rate is different," Jaitley said.
The Council has approved raising the cGST, sGST peak tax rate from 14 per cent to 20 per cent each, amounting to a peak rate of 40 per cent.
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, who was also present at the briefing, told reporters, "The slabs are already decided and there is no change in slabs. But to provide the maximum ceiling, the Council felt the need to leave some scope for higher GST for after five years, when compensation to states is not required and cess is likely to be merged with GST rate."