Congress high-level committee on GST Bill meets


New Delhi: With the Goods and Services Tax Bill set to come up in the monsoon session of parliament next month, Congress has set up a high-level committee to take an “informed position” on the matter.

The committee, which had its first meeting yesterday, has been set up in wake of strong reservations in the party over several new provisions brought in by Narendra Modi government.

Senior Congress leaders like P Chidamabaram, Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Madhusudan Mistry, Jairam Ramesh are among the members of the panel.

The GST bill is a constitutional amendment bill and has been forwarded to a select committee of parliament for scrutiny.

Day before yesterday, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had observed that he was not sure whether the legislation that is being considered is the “best route forward”.

“It helps neither the Centre nor the states, at least the majority of them, and if the revenue-neutral GST rate is in excess of those prevailing elsewhere, then we may not be able to derive adequate benefits from GST”, he had said.

He had also expressed reservations over far too many exemptions and dropping of some provisions which were part of the bill during the UPA rule.

Some of the provisions of GST bill had also come under attack yesterday at the Congress Chief Ministers’ meet which demanded that the party set up a committee to look into the issue.

The GST will subsume various levies like excise duty, service tax, entry tax and octroi.

The Centre aims to roll-out the new indirect tax regime from April next year. States are pressing the Centre to compensate fully for the loss of revenue in the first five years of GST replacing their taxes.


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