Bills and Acts Current Affairs

GST Council approves final draft of Central GST, Integrated GST laws

The GST Council meeting headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley approved the final draft of Central GST (CGST) and Inter-State GST (IGST) laws.

The approval of CGST and IGST laws is considered as significant step towards meeting the July 1, 2017 deadline for rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Key Facts
  • The UT-GST and SGST laws will be approved in the next GST Council meeting. It already has approved compensation bill.
  • Once all the bills are approved by the council, the Union government will collectively take the bills to the Union cabinet for its approval.
  • Subsequently, the CGST, IGST and UTGST laws and Compensation law to compensate states for revenue losses arising from a transition to GST will require the approval of Parliament. SGST law will require the nod of state legislative assemblies.
  • There will be no change in the tax rates approved by the Council. However, there will be a cap of 40% in the legislation.
  • Agriculturists will be exempted from registering under GST regime. Business entities with an annual turnover of up to 20 lakhs rupees will also not be required registration under the new tax regime.
About Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • GST is proposed uniform indirect taxation regime throughout the country. It will merge most of the existing indirect taxes into single system of taxation.
  • It is consumption based tax levied on the supply of Goods and Services which will be levied and collected at each stage of sale or purchase of goods or services based on the input tax credit method.
  • GST will be a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India. It was approved by The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016.
  • It seeks to enhance fiscal federalism by removing indirect tax barriers across states and integrate the country into a common market, boosting government revenue and reducing business costs.

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West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017 passed

The State Legislative Assembly has passed the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017, by a voice vote.

It repeals the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010. It aims to overhaul private healthcare in state and take stringent measures against health institutions accused of medical negligence and corrupt practices.

Key Facts
  • The legislation seeks to bring transparency, end harassment of patients and check medical negligence in private hospitals and nursing homes. It brings clinics, dispensaries and polyclinics under its ambit.
  • It makes mandatory for private hospitals to pay compensations in case of medical negligence. Hospitals violating this law will be liable to pay fine of Rs. 10 lakh or more.
  • Compensation in case medical negligence: Rs 3 lakh for minor damages, Rs 5 lakh for big damages and minimum Rs. 10 lakh in case of death. This compensation will be given within six months. The compensation amount will not be more than Rs 50 lakh.
  • Regulatory Authority: Establishes 13 member West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission to monitor activities of private hospitals.
  • The high-powered commission will be headed by sitting or former judge. It will have status of a civil court. It will be empowered to summon both parties in case of a dispute and examine case before passing an order.
  • Penal measures: It ranges between compensation and scrapping the licence of the physician/hospital. The commission can put offender behind bars up to 3 years. It can also order trying the offender under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions if it deems fit.
  • Fair Pricing: Hospitals with more than 100 beds must start fair price medicine shops. They are mandated to declare bed charges, ICU charges and package costs which can’t be altered.

Bengal Bill

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