In a bid to reach out to the states for a consensus on the proposed Constitution Amendment Bill for implementing the goods and services tax (GST), finance minister Arun Jaitley will meet the chairman of the empowered committee of state finance ministers, KM Mani, next week. The Centre wants to take up the Bill for discussion in the second half of the Budget session.
The empowered group is meeting on April 22 to discuss the Bill, which was tabled in December last year after a series of hectic negotiations, touting it as the biggest tax reform since 1947.
It proposed to include petroleum and octroi in the GST while at the same time, not subjecting the petroleum products to the levy of GST till the GST Council decides. In the interim, both the Centre and states will continue to impose their respective tax on petroleum products.
“The one-point agenda of the meeting is the Bill. We will discuss the issues pertaining to the Centre’s proposal and will try to bring all states on board,” Mani told The Indian Express.
Expressing hope that the April 1, 2016, deadline for implementing the new indirect tax regime is achievable, Mani said though there are differences and efforts are on to resolve them, “they are not so serious that they can’t be sorted.” After the EC meeting, Mani is scheduled to meet the Union finance minister.
The government is vigorously pursuing the implementation of GST, one of the key reforms promised by the BJP in its election manifesto. However, the Bill has not found support even from BJP-ruled states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which raised concerns regarding the proposals.
States like UP and Bihar have expressed their reservations about the 1 per cent additional levy that has been allowed to states like Gujarat while the Gujarat government has raised apprehensions about the implementation of five-year compensation provided for in the Bill.
Source: Indian Express