The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for forming a high power council of Finance Ministers from six industrialised States to settle issues concerning the implementation and monitoring of Goods and Services Tax .

In a statement issued here, chamber president N. Jegatheesan said that a GST trade body could comprise representatives of trade and industry drawn from across the country to provide suggestions and conduct parleys with the Finance Ministers of various States and the Union Finance Minister.

The power to grant tax exemptions and tax concessions on sale of goods with the State should continue to remain with the State government even after the present tax regime of value added tax (VAT) in Tamil Nadu gets replaced when the GST is rolled out across the country. However, the inter-State sales could be tax as per the rates recommended by the Centre.

GST exemption

He also called for granting GST exemption to all agro-products from the ‘farm to fork' to protect the farm sector. The Chamber opposed the proposed three-tier combined GST (Central GST and State GST) rates with essential items attracting 12 per cent tax and other goods 20 per cent. It said that the tax rates must be fixed at lower rates to ensure smooth implementation of GST.

If the tax rates were to be hiked steeply, it would only result in tax evasion and the public would face higher prices, Mr. Jegatheesan added.

The Chamber also thanked the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for having conceded the demands by removing the 5 per cent VAT levied on textile products.

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