As per Article 279A of the amended Constitution, the GST Council is a joint forum of the Centre and the States, and consists of the following members: –
|Union Finance Minister
|The Union Minister of State, in-charge of Revenue, Min. of Finance
|The Minister In-charge of Finance or Taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government
The Council is empowered to make recommendations to the Union and the States on the following:-
(a) the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Union, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed in the goods and services tax;
(b) the goods and services that may be subjected to, or exempted from the goods and services tax;
(c) model Goods and Services Tax Laws, principles of levy, apportionment of Integrated Goods and Services Tax and the principles that govern the place of supply;
(d) the threshold limit of turnover below which goods and services may be exempted from goods and services tax;
(e) the rates including floor rates with bands of goods and services tax;
(f) any special rate or rates for a specified period, to raise additional resources during any natural calamity or disaster;
(g) special provision with respect to the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand; and
(h) the date on which GST shall be levied on petroleum crude, high speed diesel, motor spirit (petrol), natural gas and aviation turbine fuel
(i) any other matter relating to the goods and services tax, as the Council may decide.
The mechanism of GST Council would ensure harmonisation on different aspects of GST between the Centre and the States as well as amongst the States. It has been provided in the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 that the GST Council, in discharge of various functions, shall be guided by the need for a harmonized structure of GST and for the development of a harmonized national market for goods and services.
The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 provides that every decision of the GST Council shall be taken at its meeting by a majority of not less than 3/4th of the weighted votes of the Members present and voting. The vote of the Central Government shall have a weightage of 1/3rd of the votes cast and the votes of all the State Governments taken together shall have a weightage of 2/3rd of the total votes cast in that meeting. One half of the total number of members of the GST Council shall constitute the quorum at its meeting.
On 12th September,2016 the Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of the Hon’ble Prime Minister approved setting up of GST Council and creation of its Secretariat as follows:
(a) GST Council as per Article 279A of the amended Constitution;
(b) GST Council Secretariat, with its office at New Delhi;
(c) Secretary (Revenue) as the Ex-officio Secretary to the GST Council;
(d) Inclusion of the Chairperson, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), as a permanent invitee (non-voting) to all proceedings of the GST Council;
(e) One post of Additional Secretary to the GST Council in the GST Council Secretariat (at the level of Additional Secretary to the Government of India), and four posts of Commissioners in the GST Council Secretariat (at the level of Joint Secretary to the Government of India).
The Cabinet also decided to provide for adequate funds for meeting the recurring and non-recurring expenses of the GST Council Secretariat, which shall be borne by the Central Government. The GST Council Secretariat shall be manned by officers taken on deputation from both the Central and State Governments.