GST may miss April 1 deadline: Pranab

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the government may miss the April 1, 2010 deadline set for the roll-out of the new tax regime GST.

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2009, 23:02 PM IST

Kolkata: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
today said the government may miss the April 1, 2010 deadline set for the roll-out of the new tax regime GST.

"The committee headed by West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta is trying hard for consensus among the all 28 states. We are also working and contributing together but it may not be possible to introduce GST from April 1, 2010...But the advancement we have made will make us possible to introduce GST at appropriate time," he said.

Citing lack of preparedness, a task force constituted by
the 13th Finance Commission had also recently said that
implementation of the GST should be postponed by six months.

The goods and services tax would do away with most of the
indirect tax levies like excise and service tax at the Centre
and Octroi and VAT at state-level.

The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers last
month had released a draft discussion paper on GST.

The Committee would meet Mukherjee on January 7 to sort
out the constitutional and administrative issues related to
the introduction of GST.

Earlier this month, Dasgupta had said GST would have
four slabs. The rate would be zero for exempted items, one
standard rate for majority of the goods and services and
another having a moderate rate. Precious metals are likely to
continue to attract one per cent.

The Prime Minister`s Economic Advisory Committee (PMEAC)
has favoured a single slab each for goods and services or one
common rate for both under GST, unlike the proposal mooted by the states.

The Finance Ministry is consulting constitutional
experts to work out a mechanism by which both the central and state governments will have jurisdiction to impose Goods and Service Tax, Mukherjee said.

"As per the Constitution, the central legislation has
overriding power over those in the states on matters relating
to the concurrent list. So, we are consulting legal experts to
see how this can be done," he said inaugurating the 109th
annual general meeting of the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

He said the states were aware of their rights in
taxation and "I don`t want to disturb this".

The government had an open mind about the GST and the
Direct Tax Code and was holding consultations with various
stakeholders. "We are open to suggestions and we are ready to implement any suggestion that will help the economy."

He said while the government had borrowed Rs 400,000
crore from the banks, it had done so in a manner that would
make credit available to the private sector during the
borrowing season.

The government would also not take recourse to a
premature exit policy on stimulus packages before the world
economy recovered on a firm footing, he said.

On declining exports, Mukherjee advised exporters to
look for markets outside the conventional ones.