New Delhi: BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief
Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has been elected on Monday as the
chairman of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, a
development that improves prospects of reaching a consensus on
the proposed GST, so far opposed by the BJP-ruled states.
Talking to reporters after his election, Modi, who also
holds the finance portfolio of Bihar, advised the Centre to be
flexible and take on board concerns of states.
"If the Centre is not flexible, implementation would be
difficult. States concerns must be addressed," he said.
BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and
Chhattisgarh have so far opposed Goods and Services Tax (GST).
GST Constitution Amendment Bill is pending before Parliament.
The main concern of the Opposition-ruled states is that the
new tax regime would erode their autonomy to levy taxes.
Interestingly, Bihar, where BJP is a part of the ruling
NDA coalition, is in favour of GST.
"We are all very positive that under the leadership of
Modi all the issues which have been pending between the Centre
and states ... relating to VAT and GST will be amicably
solved," BJP-ruled Gujarat`s Finance Minister Finance Minister
Saurabhbhai Patel said.
Modi`s name was proposed by Delhi Chief Minister Shiela
Dikshit and seconded by Orissa Finance Minister Prafulla
Chandra Ghadai. Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was
also present during Modi`s election.
Former West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta was the
chief of empowered panel of state finance ministers earlier.
Introduction of GST, which will subsume central and state
taxes like excise, customs, service tax, sales tax and VAT has
been pending for years in the absence of political consensus.