New Delhi: It will become “very difficult” to roll out the new indirect tax regime by April 2016 if the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Bill is not passed in the current session of Parliament, Chairman of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers K M Mani said on Tuesday.
He, however, added that in case the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill – to implement the Goods and Services Tax – is pushed to the winter session of Parliament, efforts will be made to enforce it from April 1.
“I hope that the Bill can be passed (in current session). Otherwise, there is a Winter Session,” he said, responding to a query on the GST Bill which could not be taken up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha amid ruckus by the Congress.
When asked whether implementation of GST will be delayed in case the Bill is passed in the winter session, Mr Mani said, “Implementation will be very difficult even though we will overcome that and we will try to bring it into force from April 1, 2016.”
When asked if concerns raised by various political parties have been addressed in the Bill, Mani replied in the affirmative. “All the parties have agreed. There is a general agreement regarding GST.”
Mr Mani is the Finance Minister in the Congress-led United Democratic Front government in Kerala.
On reports that the revenue neutral rate (RNR) under GST may be fixed at 25 per cent, the Committee’s Member Secretary Satish Chandra said the Centre has formed a panel for this under the Chairmanship of the Chief Economic Adviser. It also comprises representatives from states as well as officials from CBEC and other government departments.
“So that is looking into it. It is the GST Council which will take a final view. Unless the rate is indicated by this Committee, what is being published, we should not go by it,” Mr Chandra said.
Earlier in the day, Mr Mani met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. “The (Union) Finance Minister said GST is top priority,” he told reporters.