Jammu & Kashmir Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather has been elected as the new Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST.

Mr. Rather, also a senior National Conference leader, was chosen to head the panel at a meeting of state Finance Ministers here.

The post of Chairman of the Finance Ministry’s committee on Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been lying vacant since June 17 when Bihar Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi resigned following the JD(U)—BJP split in the eastern state.

The new chief will have a formidable task of pursuing the proposed new indirect tax regime (GST) which will subsume excise, service tax and local levies.

The Standing Committee on Finance had last week finalised its views on the GST Bill, which was introduced in Parliament in 2010.

The states and the Centre would together finalise the draft now and bring it back to Parliament.

In 2011, Mr. Modi had replaced Asim Dasgupta, who had resigned following the defeat of Left-front government in West Bengal.

Mr. Modi had earlier said that 80 per cent consensus had been built on the Bill.

The GST rollout had missed several deadlines due to differences between the states and the Centre over contentious issue of central sales tax compensation to states and design of the GST structure.

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