No takers for post of GST empowered panel chief?


The post of Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) seems to be jinxed.

Following the resignation of KM Mani as Kerala’s finance minister, the Centre has to begin hunting for a new chief to head the committee. However, insiders say that State Finance Ministers are shying away from taking the post, or rather, most are turning superstitious.

Past records show most of the heads have either faced electoral defeat or have had to quit the Cabinet.

The issue has come to the fore once again after Mani resigned earlier this week. He had been selected as the Chairman of the Empowered Committee in March, succeeding former Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather.

The Committee is expected to meet on November 20, ahead of the crucial Winter Session of Parliament in which the government hopes to get approval for the Constitutional Amendment Bill for GST.

The Rajya Sabha has to pass the Bill in the upcoming session if the indirect tax reform is to roll out from April 1, 2016.

“As of now, the meeting is scheduled for November 20. State Finance Ministers will have to discuss who among them should represent the States in negotiations with the Centre,” said a person familiar with the development.


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