Will try for consensus on GST, says Mani


Source | The HINDU

State Finance Ministers to meet in Kerala on May 7

A consensus will be built among States for the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime by April 2016 as there is no “obstinate opposition” from any State, newly-selected Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers K.M. Mani has said.

Mr. Mani, who is the Kerala Finance Minister, said the next meeting of the panel would be held in Kerala on May 7 and 8. “Most of the States have welcomed the GST… Only a very few States are opposing it. Even they are also agreeing gradually. I think there is no obstinate opposition from any State,” he told reporters here on Saturday.

In December 2014, the government had introduced the long-pending GST Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha for rollout of the GST.

The new indirect regime that subsumes various levies such as entry tax and octroi is likely to be rolled out from April 2016. Certain States have argued that implementation of the GST would be beneficial for consuming States, while for manufacturing States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat, it could be challenging.

Asked about the opposition from Gujarat, Mr. Mani said the interests of all States would be protected.

“Gujarat has certain apprehensions and certain States have certain apprehensions. We will remove that and have a consensus decision. We will safeguard the interest of all the States, producing as well as consumer States,” he said.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier expressed the hope that the 122nd Constitutional Amendment Bill on the Goods and Services Tax would be passed in the upcoming session of Parliament beginning April 20.

Asked on the Centre’s plan to implement GST by April 2016, Mr. Mani said: “I cannot exactly say. But that is the present schedule. We will try to make it materialise by that time.’’

Left stand political

On opposition from Left parties in Kerala on his being selected as the Chairman of the GST committee, Mr. Mani said it was political.

“That is political. It is a political statement because they are in the opposition. They know that I am an experienced person having 50 years of legislative experience and about 30 years of ministerial experience. If I am the Chairman of the Empowered Committee, they know that it will not be an advantage for the opposition,” Mr. Mani said. — PTI

Most of the States have welcomed the GST. Only a very few States are opposing it. Even they are also agreeing gradually

K.M. Mani

Kerala Finance Minister

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