The GST Council has sorted out most issues in the way of implementing the proposed Goods and Services Tax and only the issue of “cross-empowerment” concerning jurisdiction over assessees needs to be resolved, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.
“Only one major issue is pending and it is expected to be resolved in near future. We are hoping the issue of cross-empowerment will be resolved and GST will be implemented from April 1,” Jaitley said at the valedictory session here of the Petrotech 2016 international conference on hydrocarbons.
The fifth meeting of the GST Council remained inconclusive here on Saturday as the impasse over the issue of assessee jurisdiction continued.
“The critical issue is of cross empowerment or dual control. Are we close to a resolution? I will still keep my fingers crossed,” Jaitley, who chairs the Council, told reporters after the two-day meeting came to an end.
With five meetings of the GST Council being held, the issue of dual control or who will exercise control over GSTassessees — the Centre or the states – remains critical.
The next meeting of the Council is slated for December 11 and 12.
Jaitley said on Friday that there is a constitutional compulsion to roll out GST.
“So, you have a Constitutional compulsion to have a GST in place before September 16 (2017), otherwise the country doesn’t run, and the tax is absolutely essential. Therefore, our intention is it gets implemented from April 1, 2017, that was the original intention,” he said at an event.
The political fallout of the demonetisation decision has put a question mark on the government’s rollout of GST targeted for April 1. States like West Bengal have said they are wary of implementing the new indirect tax regime in the aftermath of demonetisation as this might destabilise the economy.
Referring to demonetisation, Jaitley said it was a harder option which would leave footprints behind as far as the future is concerned.
“PM had an option of doing what many others have done. There was an easier option but he chose the harder one. PM had the broad shoulders to face consequences of the decision,” he said.
“Earlier mindset of policymakers was that just by dishing out a few favours to the affluent you can bring changes in the country’s economy. So called seven-decade normal had to be disrupted. Decision of this kind has pain in transition, which is regrettable, but had been factored in,” he added.