Government of India is keen to introduce Goods and Services tax structure in the country which aims at harmonization of the indirect taxes regime by subsuming a number of taxes levied by the Centre and the States and also to avoid multiple layers of taxation that presently exist in our country . Since Constitutional Amendments are necessary for such implementation , The Constitution ( One Hundred and Fifteenth Amendment ) Bill , 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 11th March , 2011 dealing with the key issues relating to the GST . The proposed GST Bill , inter alia sought to introduce articles affecting the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax ( GST ) and the introduction of the GST Council . As per the existing structure of indirect taxation , the Parliament has the power to make laws in respect of taxes on the sale or purchase of goods other than newspapers , where such sale or purchase takes place in the course of inter-State trade or commerce and enjoys exclusive power to tax services ( Union List ) while the State Legislatures have the power to make laws on the sale or purchase of goods within their respective states ( State List ) . Even in this Bill , the Parliament retained the exclusive power to make laws pertaining to sale or purchase of goods in the course of inter-State trade or commerce , yet an effort was made by this Bill to confers simultaneous powers to the Centre and the States to levy taxes on goods and services . The Statement of objects and Reasons of the Bill envisaged that – ” The GST would replace a number of indirect taxes , presently being levied by the Central government and the State governments and aims to remove cascading of taxes and provide a common national market for goods and services . “
The Constitution ( 115th Amendment ) Bill , 2011 was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance on March 29 , 2011 . The Standing Committee submitted its report on the Bill in August , 2013 . However , the Bill , which was pending in the Lok Sabha , lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha .
Thus the Constitution ( 122nd Amendment) Bill , 2014 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 19 , 2014 . This bill also sought to amend the Constitution to introduce the Goods and Services Tax ( GST ) and impose concurrent powers on the Centre and the States to do so .
The Constitution ( 122nd Amendment ) Bill , 2014 was passed by the Lok Sabha in May, 2015 but as the Ruling NDA did not had the requisite majority in Rajya Sabha , it kept pending for a considerable time . However after a series of discussion and with few amendments in the draft passed by the Lok Sabha , this Bill ultimately was passed unanimously by the Rajya Sabha on 4th August , 2016 . Then it was again sent to Lok Sabha to incorporate the few amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha . On Aug. 9, 2016 the Parliament passed The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 after it was unanimously passed by the Lok Sabha by approving all the amendments made by Rajya Saba and sent it for ratification to the States .
With more than half of the States ratifying the Constitution ( 122nd Amendment ) Bill , it was sent to the President of India for his assent and after the assent of the President this Constitution ( 122nd Amendment ) Bill , has now become “The Constitution ( One Hundred And First ) Amendment Act , 2016 and has been published in The Gazette of India on 8th September , 2016 “.
It is very necessary to go through this Amendment Act as it aims at introduction of GST in India . I have written an article on “The Constitution ( One Hundred And First ) Amendment Act , 2016” analyzing all the Clauses of this Act in details . Hope this article will be useful in understanding this amendment to the Constitution . My article “THE FALL OUT OF THE CONSTITUTION (ONE HUNDRED AND FIRST AMENDMENT) ACT, 2016 ” has been published in the first fortnightly issue of October,16 of VAT LAW JOURNAL.