The original bill to amend the Constitution for introducing a pan-India Goods and Services Tax regime was moved by the United Progressive Alliance government in 2011. This bill lapsed. Here're the key differences between the lapsed bill and the one that was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday:
- The original bill of 2011 was silent on the issue of compensating the states for the loss of revenue on account of a unified indirect tax regime. The new bill of 2014 wants the states to be compensated for five years.
- The amended version of the bill calls for a one-percent additional tax for a period of five years as additional compensation to go exclusively to the states where the said good is manufactured. The original bill has no mention of this.
- The original bill wanted exemptions from the unified Goods and Services Tax for specific petroleum products and alcohol, so as to leave it to the states to impose taxes on them. The new bill seeks to exempt not only alcohol and petroleum fuels, but also tobacco.
- The quorum set for the proposed Goods and Services Tax Council, under the chairmanship of the finance minister, has ben enhanced to one-half of the members from one-third earlier.
- On voting at the council meetings, the new bill says the decisions can be reached if one-fourth members are in favour, while the original bill was for decisions based entirely on consensus.
- The original bill called for a dispute settlement authority to be set up under a retired judge of the Supreme Court or the chief justice of a high court. The new bill deletes the provision and leaves it for the council to preside over such matters.
- The original bill was listed as the 115th amendment to the Constitution, while the new one passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday is for the 122nd amendment.