Panel to evolve consensus on GST rollout with industry

HALF DONE: Eight States have cleared the GST Constitutional amendment Bill, out of the minimum 15 required— FILE PHOTO: AFP

HALF DONE: Eight States have cleared the GST Constitutional amendment Bill, out of the minimum 15 required— FILE PHOTO: AFP  

Industry and trade representatives are set to impress upon the empowered committee of State Finance Ministers about the need to keep the Goods and Services Tax rate at reasonable levels, if not 18 per cent. The issue will be taken up at a day-long interaction with the committee on Tuesday, when industry as well as the accounting fraternity, will air concerns of various sectors about the implementation of the new indirect tax regime with State FMs.

The finance ministers’ deliberations with industry, trade and professional groups are scheduled after the committee’s own meeting on the rollout of the GST regime, that is expected to last for an hour in the morning, a senior government official told The Hindu .

Seven more

Eight State assemblies have already cleared the GST Constitutional amendment Bill out of the minimum 15 States required before the Bill can be sent to the President for his approval.

A GST Council would then be constituted to set tax rates.

The finance ministry, which is pushing for an April 2017 rollout of the new tax, has already held detailed parleys with industry chambers and trade associations over the past fortnight, where concerns were raised by firms across sectors.

“This will be the first meeting of the empowered committee of State FMs since the Constitutional amendment Bill was passed by Parliament,” the official said requesting anonymity.

“While the political rollout is moving through State assemblies, we want to evolve a consensus on the implementation plan as well so industry chambers, trade bodies and professional groups have been asked to share their concerns about the nitty-gritty of the tax with State Finance Ministers,” the official said.

Five representatives have been invited for the meeting from each of the apex professional bodies that represent chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries. Similarly, trade organisations, Confederation of All India Traders, Federation of All India Traders Associations and the Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal have been asked to make a presentation on GST.

Six invited

Six chambers of industry and commerce have been invited, including software lobby group Nasscom, exporters’ body FIEO, Assocham, FICCI, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Confederation of All India Micro and Small Scale Industries.

Industry honchos, during talks with Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia earlier this month, had already raised concerns about the distortions that may be caused by the proposed tax treatment in sectors such as electricity, petroleum and real estate and also red-flagged provisions in the model GST law.

FICCI, for instance, had questioned the wide discretionary powers to tax authorities and provisions that mandate taxes be deposited for filing appeals, saying such provisions may lead to disputes in future.

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