Reasonably possible to meet April deadline for GST: Arun Jaitley

MUMBAI: Lauding the progress achieved so far on GST implementation, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday exuded confidence that it is “reasonably possible” to meet the April 1 deadline to roll out the new indirect tax regime.

“There has hardly been an opportunity, in fact there has been none, where I’ve seen state finance ministers dividing themselves on party lines (as on GST). If this trend goes on, I am quite certain, it may be reasonably possible for us to meet the deadline (April 1, 2017), however difficult it may be,” Jaitley told SBI Economic Conclave here on Tuesday evening.

Noting that states have realised the importance of competitiveness and attracting investments, Jaitley said getting the GST through was “troublesome” as it involved completely changing the powers of the Union and the states.

“It required consensus building so that we had shared sovereignty,” he observed adding “GST progress showed that we have the stamina for reforms”.

The GST council has the mandate to look into issues of dual control and threshold rates with the states demanding that they be given the legal and administrative powers for imposing tax on entities with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore.

The GST council is chaired by Jaitley and has his junior in charge of revenue and state finance ministers as members.

 GST, which is considered as the biggest tax reform since the Independence, will subsume excise and service tax, and various other local levies including VAT and octroi.

The GST council is likely to work out a consensus on all the key issues, including the GST rates, within two months so that those can be incorporated in the CGST and IGST laws.

The first meeting of the GST met on September 21-22 and decided on the many issues barring the rates, on which they will meet from October 17 and hope to finalise by November.


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