Racing against time to meet the April 1 target to roll out the landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST), the government is considering an early winter session of parliament to get supporting legislations pass said a report in NDTV.

Sources say the final decision on the dates of the session will be taken by the cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs. There is a proposal to start the last session of the year at least 15 days before the usual third week of November.

The GST bill which was passed in the monsoon session needs the nod of 50% of the states. Already the constitution amendment bill has been ratified by eight state assemblies including Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.
 

The bill was passed unanimously by the Rajya Sabha and the the Lok Sabha in August. BJP Chief Amit Shah and PM Modi have already urged the BJP and NDA-ruled states to go for quick sessions to clear the bill.

The government also has to pass the supporting legislations for the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) legislations that will pave way for the GST, to be approved within November or latest by early December, government officials said.

The timeline being followed by the government includes calling for a session from around November 10 after festivals including Diwali and Chhath Puja.

"This is a proposal. For calling an early session, the parliamentary affairs minister will reach out to all parties as there has to be a consensus on doing that," a minister said.

The government has to cross one big hurdle when it comes to the CGST as the bill sailed through the Rajya Sabha only after it promised to all parties that the GST rate cap will be mentioned in the CGST bill to ring fence the rate.

Though the government is of the view that CGST, which will also mentions the dispute redressal mechanism, is a money bill and the Rajya Sabha has no powers to amend it.

The government and the principle opposition parties have agreed that once the state assemblies approve the new national sales tax regime, the GST Council - comprising union finance minister and state finance ministers, can immediately sit down to quickly approve the tax rate, slabs and exemptions for it to be incorporated in the CGST.

The government knows that states, not ready to lose revenue, want a higher rate while political parties in Delhi are insistent that it should not be over 18%.

Government hopes that if parliament gives its nod the legislations by early December the GST rollout may be possible by April 1, as the infrastructure for the integrated taxation regime is in place and is going through tests.