All states but Tamil Nadu support GST Bill, says Arun Jaitley

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said all states have virtually supported Goods and Services Tax with only Tamil Nadu expressing some reservations. He said this after the two-day meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers that deliberated on the model GST law.

Jaitley had participated in the meeting to iron out differences with the states over the new regime.

 All states but Tamil Nadu support GST Bill, says Arun Jaitley

A file photo of Arun Jaitley

There has been complete consensus on no constitutional cap as exigencies may arise in future to revise the rates, said Jaitley.

He also said issues of dual control and revenue neutral rate will be dealt by the Empowered Committee.

Constituional cap for the GST has been a major bone of contention in passage of the reform. The Congress, which first proposed the constitutional amendment in 2006, is demanding capping the overall rate at 18 percent and scrapping an additional 1 percent tax designed to compensate manufacturing-heavy states that fear losing revenue once the measure is implemented.

The consensus on the GST is likely to pave way for the passage of the bill in the monsoon session of Parliament.

Earlier junior finance minister Jayant Sinha had told PTI that he government is targeting April 2017 for the rollout GST and that the government is betting on support from smaller regional parties to pass the national sales tax legislation in the Parliament session from next
month. He hoped that the supporting laws will get the approval by year-end.

GST was earlier planned to be introduced from April 1 this year, converting 29 states into a single market through the new indirect tax regime, but the deadline was missed as the bill to roll it out remains stalled in the opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha.

"If we can pass it in the monsoon session (of Parliament beginning next month), then we can implement it in April 1, 2017," Sinha told PTI.

The government has enough backing from smaller regional parties to pass the Bill in Rajya Sabha without support from the main opposition Congress party, he said.

After Parliament approves the constitutional amendment to allow GST, it needs to be ratified by more than half of states. Then Parliament must pass another bill to implement the GST.

After the Constitution Amendment Bill is passed in Parliament, there are three more legislations - Central GST (CGST), State GST (SGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) - which are required to be passed.

The GST bill -- which will help create a single national sales tax to replace several state and central levies -- has already been approved by the Lok Sabha or Lower House of Parliament and is pending in the Upper House where the government doesn't have a majority.

With PTI

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Updated Date: Jun 14, 2016 16:16:48 IST