GST may miss April 1 deadline: Pranab
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 24, 2009, 23:02
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.


First Published: Thursday, December 24, 2009, 23:02

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