State FMs to meet to discuss GST rate

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the GST would be a “win-win” for both Centre and states. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
New Delhi: The empowered committee of state finance ministers, headed by K.M. Mani, will meet in New Delhi on Thursday to deliberate on the revenue neutral rate, besides other issues, for smooth roll out of goods and services tax (GST).
The Centre proposes to roll out GST by April 2016. The Constitutional Amendment Bill for rolling out of GST has been referred to a Rajya Sabha select committee, while the Lok Sabha has already cleared the bill.
Sources said the empowered committee, which comprises state finance ministers, is scheduled to discuss the revenue neutral rate, in addition to some other issues. Touted as the single biggest indirect tax reform since independence, the GST will subsume various levies such as excise duty, service tax, entry tax and octroi.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the GST would be a “win-win” for both Centre and states. The Constitutional Amendment Bill also provides for levy of 1% additional tax for two years by the manufacturing states for inter-state transfer of goods.
Under the provisions of the bill, petroleum goods will be part of the GST but they will be levied at zero rate, implying that the states will continue to levy VAT while Centre will levy excise duty for initial few years.
Thereafter, the levy on petroleum products will be fully subsumed in the GST on a date to be decided by the GST council.
The council will have two-third members from the states and the remaining from the Centre. The states, however, will continue to levy taxes on alcohol as is the practice now.

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