The head of the committee was then Finance Minister Mr. Asim Dasgupta, under the flagship of Vajpayee Government. However, that time, the GST model was not completely designed. Later on, in February 2006, the acting Finance Minister, Mr. P Chidambaram continued working on the GST model. The final model was implemented on 1st July 2017 by the Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley. From July 2017. GST replaced all other forms of indirect taxation and became the uniform, comprehensive and a destination-based form of indirect tax. After the concept of GST was implemented, the Government of India also formed a GST Council. The reason for establishing the council was to ensure that the rules of GST would be implemented in all parts of India and that every eligible establishment would abide by the GST rules. So, the GST Council became the governing body of GST implementation in India.
Creation of the GST Council was facilitated by the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Second Amendment) Bill 2016 was approved by the President of India on 8th September 2016. The objective of the Bill was to introduce GST in India. Thereafter, the notification for enforcing Article 279A was issued on 10th September 2016 and the Article came into effect from 12th September 2016. On this date, in a Union Cabinet meeting, the establishment of the GST Council was approved along with the establishment of the GST Council’s Secretariat. The Finance Minister at the time, Mr. Arun Jaitley, also convened the first meeting of the GST Council on 26th and 27th September 2016.
As stated earlier, GST Council is the governing body for the implementation of GST rules in India. It is tasked with the duties to make important decisions and changes in GST. The GST Council is authorised to determine the rate of tax applicable under the GST model, tax exemption rules, the due date of submitting GST forms, tax related laws and deadlines and special exemptions for some States of India. The GST Council is tasked to ensure that one uniform rate of GST is applied on goods and services all across India.
The structure of the GST Council is determined by Article 279 (1) of the amended Constitution of India. This Article states that the GST Council should be constituted by the President of India within a period of 60 days of the inception of Article 279A. The Article states that GST Council should be joint forum of the Central Government as well as the State Governments. It would consist of the following members –
Besides governing GST implementation in the country, the GST Council has two major duties to dispose of. These include making recommendations and holding GST Council meetings. Let’s understand these duties in details –
According to the provisions laid down under Article 279A (4), the GST Council has the duty to make recommendations about GST to the Union Government as well as the State Governments. The council would decide which goods and services would be charged to GST and which would be exempted from it. Thereafter, the GST Council has the duty of creating laws and principles about the place of supply, threshold limits, special rates of GST for certain States of India, the applicable GST rates on various goods and services and special rates of GST during a natural calamity or a disaster so that additional resources can be raised for meeting the financial losses suffered, etc.
Another important duty of GST Council is to meet and discuss about the GST rules and laws which would be beneficial for dealers. Ever since the GST Council has been formed, various meetings have taken place. In the last GST Council meeting, the council decided that GST should be implemented on e-way bills which require goods valuing more than INR 50,000 being registered before they are moved. The GST Council also extended the deadline of filing the GSTR – 1. Anti-profiteering screening committees were also set up in the latest meeting of the GST Council. The aim of setting up these committees was to strengthen the National Anti-Profiteering Authority under the laws of GST. Besides formulating laws on GST, the GST Council also took decisions on the following aspects –
Besides these two duties, the GST Council also makes rules regarding GST registration, valuation, payment of GST, input tax credit, GST return, composition, transitional provisions, invoice and claiming refund, etc.
The GST Council is also charged with the duty to create a mechanism with which the following disputes would be settled –
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So far, 34 GST Council meetings have been convened
The Union Finance Minister of India chairs the meetings of the GST Council. Currently, the Union Finance Minister is Mr. Arun Jaitley and as such he is the chairperson of the GST Council meetings.
For a GST Council meeting to be valid, at least 50% of the members of the council should be present at the meeting.
GST Council Secretariat is the body which manages the GST Council. The Secretariat consists of members who are deputation officers of the Central as well as the State Governments.
The Central Government bears the total cost of managing the GST Council Secretariat. In the first ever GST Council meeting which was conducted after establishing the GST Council, the Union Cabinet allocated sufficient funds for taking care of the recurring as well as non-recurring expenses of the GST Council Secretariat.