It is a race against time to implement GST, says Jaitley

The Centre is running against time to meet the ‘stiff’ target rollout date of April 1, 2017 for a new indirect tax regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.

Still, the government will strive to meet the deadline and introduce the necessary central legislation for the Goods and Services Tax in the winter session of Parliament, Mr. Jaitley said.

He cited the agility with which state governments had already ratified the Constitutional amendments.

“We have kept a very stiff target (for GST) and the reason is that there is a great national aspiration in support of the reform.And this is adequately exhibited by the fact that both Houses of Parliament have unanimously approved the legislation which is very rare,” Mr. Jaitley told Economist India Summit on Wednesday.

“Secondly, state after state, within a period of 20-25 days, have kept on ratifying it,” he said adding enough states have now okayed the Constitutional amendments for them to be taken up for Presidential assent.

The Finance Minister said that the long-pending tax reform will not just create a common nationwide market making seamless transfer of goods and services possible but also plug leakages and lead to lower tax rates, once effectively implemented.

The Minister said that the Lok Sabha Secretariat is in the process of collecting the legislative proceedings of all the 17 states that have cleared the Bill so that they may be sent to the President for ratification.

An official said that these proceedings have so far been procured from 11 out of the 15 states needed for moving forward with this procedural formality.

“Once the assent is granted by the President, the Constitutional amendment will be notified and the GST council will be constituted,” he said.

“There are obviously some pending issues which the council will have to resolve,” he said, referring to the need to arrive at a consensus on the GST rate and treatment of sectoral and geographical tax exemptions, among other things.

“So we have the months of September and October and parts of November to do that… there is a lot of work to do and if you are able to successfully transact those issues, then, in the winter session of Parliament, the central legislation with some drafts there in public domain, will have to be brought in,” he said.

“The states will have to pass their own legislations. Now if we look ahead it’s a very stiff target, we are running against time. But I would certainly like to give it a try,” the Minister said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 12:48:23 AM |

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