All You Need to Know About the 122nd Constitutional Amendment

The 122nd Amendment will be introduced in the 2015 Winter Session of the Parliament, here’s all you need to know.

Updated
India
4 min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu at a meeting a day before the Parliament’s winter session at the Parliament House, New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

The winter session of Parliament beginning tomorrow is set to be stormy with Opposition parties closing ranks to target the government on issues including ‘intolerance’ even as the ruling dispensation, which is keen to pass the GST bill, expressed its readiness to discuss all issues.

The Opposition attack is set to gain momentum from next Monday when the government brings its legislative agenda on the table after a two-day special sitting to discuss the Constitution and its maker BR Ambedkar on his 125th birth anniversary.

Amid indications of a tough session ahead, senior ministers yesterday huddled to chalk out the strategy and work out floor coordination plans while parties like Congress, JDU and CPI-M made their intent clear, deciding to give notices for debate on the issue of intolerance and attacking the government on the key reform measure of GST.

The government is likely to take the line in Parliament that the Centre and the BJP have nothing to do with the incidents that led to the intolerance debate and put the ball the states’ court.

A total of 38 Bills, including some finance bills, are awaiting parliamentary approval.

The crucial GST bill is also pending in Parliament which the government hopes to pass in the session.

Highlights of the GST Bill

File photo of the Indian parliament building is seen on the opening day of the Monsoon session. (Photo: Reuters)
File photo of the Indian parliament building is seen on the opening day of the Monsoon session. (Photo: Reuters)
  • The Bill amends the Constitution to introduce the goods and services tax (GST).
  • Parliament and state legislatures will have concurrent powers to make laws on GST. Only the centre may levy an integrated GST (IGST) on the interstate supply of goods and services, and imports.
  • Alcohol for human consumption has been exempted from the purview of GST. GST will apply to five petroleum products at a later date.
  • The GST Council will recommend rates of tax, period of levy of additional tax, principles of supply, special provisions to certain states etc. The GST Council will consist of the Union Finance Minister, Union Minister of State for Revenue, and state Finance Ministers.
  • The Bill empowers the centre to impose an additional tax of up to 1%, on the interstate supply of goods for two years or more. This tax will accrue to states from where the supply originates.
  • Parliament may, by law, provide compensation to states for any loss of revenue from the introduction of GST, up to a five year period.

GST Bill: Key Issues and Analysis

File photo of the Indian parliament building in New Delhi. (Photo: Reuters)
File photo of the Indian parliament building in New Delhi. (Photo: Reuters)
  • An ideal GST regime intends to create a harmonised system of taxation by subsuming all indirect taxes under one tax. It seeks to address challenges with the current indirect tax regime by broadening the tax base, eliminating cascading of taxes, increasing compliance, and reducing economic distortions caused by inter-state variations in taxes.
  • The provisions of this Bill do not fully conform to an ideal GST regime. Deferring the levy of GST on five petroleum products could lead to cascading of taxes.
  • The additional 1% tax levied on goods that are transported across states dilutes the objective of creating a harmonised national market for goods and services. Interstate trade of a good would be more expensive than intrastate trade, with the burden being borne by retail consumers. Further, cascading of taxes will continue.
  • The Bill permits the centre to levy and collect GST in the course of interstate trade and commerce. Instead, some experts have recommended a modified bank model for inter-state transactions to ease tax compliance and administrative burden.

What the Opposition is Saying

A sand sculpture by artist Sudarshan Patnaik depicts the Indian Parliament with various parties’ election symbols. (Photo: Reuters)
A sand sculpture by artist Sudarshan Patnaik depicts the Indian Parliament with various parties’ election symbols. (Photo: Reuters)
We have already given notice for discussion on intolerance and it should be admitted under Rule 193. So we will discuss about the Constitution on the 125th anniversary. Other than this, we have given another notice on the subject. Whenever that is admitted, we will together discuss on this issue. Each of us want that there is tolerance in the country for peace and development and investment to come.
Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress, Lok Sabha
The Prime Minister should remove Union Ministers Giriraj Singh, Sadhvi Niranjany Jyoti, Mahesh Sharma, VK Singh and Sanjiv Balyan. Only having a debate on the issue and passing a resolution is not enough. The PM should give the message that he means business by removing these ministers.
KC Tyagi, General Secretary, JD-U
Government has not done its homework on GST bill. It has not convened an all-party meeting, which it should have done to discuss the same. Government will be solely responsible if the bill is not cleared in the House as it has not done its homework.
Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M)

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