Jaitley bullish about rollout of GST from April next year


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley along with Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi addressing a press conference at North Block on Thursday. PTI

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is optimistic that Goods & Services Tax (GST) will not miss the deadline of April 1, despite legislative process pushed back for at least two months.

“I am still hopeful, in fact very hopeful that we will be able to achieve,” Jaitley said in a press conference here on Thursday.

The Centre was pushed to refer the Constitution Amendment Bill for introduction of GST to a select panel in the Rajya Sabha. Jaitley said that once the Bill is passed by Parliament, it will have to be ratified by the States. After half the States have ratified, the supporting legislations (CGST or Central Goods & Services Tax, SGST or State Goods & Services Tax and IGST or Integrated Goods & Services Tax) need to be passed to facilitate the implementation of GST.

“All these exercises will really have to be done in Monsoon Session and the Winter Session along with other preparations,” he said adding that the Department of Revenue and Empowered Committee of States’ Finance Minister will have to work over time.

Though he termed the just concluded Budget session as a productive one, he said, “I would have been much happier, if the Rajya Sabha also had approved GST”.

Talking about the Land Bill, Finance Minister expressed hope that the Bill will get passed in the monsoon session.

The Bill has been referred to a joint panel with a timeline of giving its report by first day of the monsoon session.

“I do believe that the roadmap which we have now developed of sending to the joint committee is probably the fastest route to get the land Bill through,” he said.

Social schemes

Jaitley also said since launch on May 9, total of 5.19 crore people have enrolled for Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), while the number was 1.59 crore for Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana (PMJJY).

PMSBY provides accident insurance up to ₹2 lakh at a premium of ₹12 for a year. Similarly, PMJJY provides life insurance up to ₹2 lakh at a premium of ₹330 for a year.

There is third social security scheme, Atal Pension Yojana which has got 70,000 people till date.

“Social security schemes if they are runaway success and if they have a huge acceptability, then we are going to see how they can be strengthened in future,” he said.

Growth prospects

On growth prospects, he said that economy is in a recovering stage. “Inflation is under control, growth figures appear to be much better, fiscal deficit is under control, current account deficit (CAD) is under control,” he said while adding that service sector is expanding and also there is more expenditure on the infrastructure. “I think from despondency, we have entered more positive zones,” he said.


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