Manmohan Singh hailed the passage of GST bills by Parliament and sought to play down the fact that it could not happen during his tenure, saying "let bygones be bygones".
Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, Integrated GST Bill, Compensation GST Bill and Union Territory GST Bill 2017 - were passed by the Rajya Sabha and returned to the Lok Sabha, after an nearly nine hour discussion spread across two days.
The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed four bills related to the implementation of the pan-India Goods and Services Tax. GST is a unified tax that will subsume all indirect taxes. The final nod to the four rules as also fixation of GST rates for major commodities and services will be done in the next meeting in Srinagar on May 18-19.
Replying to the debate in the upper house, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said successive governments have contributed towards GST and no one person can take credit for it.
Noting that both central and state governments are pooling their sovereignty to enable the tax regime, Jaitley said that India, despite being one political entity, remained different economic entities with states having different taxes.
"There has been no job creation in the past two-and-half years but the GST will help in job creation", Gowda said, adding that all depends on its implementation though. He said it took nearly 11 years to build a consensus on the roll out of GST. He said the government will face a big challenge due to GST effect on Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
That the Congress floor strategy on the GST bills was fluid was evident early today when former finance minister P. Chidambaram decided not to intervene in the debate. "If the GST Council takes a decision, if we think in our wisdom that that is something that is affecting the powers of the States or the rights of the States according to our Constitution, it has to come for Parliamentary approval".
Union Minister Piyush Goyal also reflected on the GST bills and said that they had become a reality now, whereas it was inconceivable a few months ago.
About petrol being left out of the purview of the GST, he said it would lead to "complete inconsistency".
The Rajya Sabha today passed the historic Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill without any amendments.
CPI leader D Raja said increasing the slabs of indirect taxes will put a burden on common people.
The anti-profiteering provision was introduced by the Indian government to ensure that any tax benefit caused by GST would be passed on to consumers through lower priced goods and services, and not serve to benefit companies.
In the current GSTN structure, the Centre and the states together hold 49 per cent stake and the rest is owned by private banks and financial institutions.