New Delhi: The centre`s proposal to
introduce Constitution Amendment Bill in the current
Parliament session to pave the way for rolling out the Goods
and Service Tax on Wednesday hit a road block, with the
BJP-ruled states demanding more time to respond to the draft.
"The states have got hardly two working days to examine
the revised draft and take a decision thereon...," Madhya
Pradesh Finance Minister Raghawji said at the states GST panel
"I have been wondering the reason for the rush to
implement the GST as if the country is passing through a
severe financial crisis and GST is the panacea for all the
ills," Raghawji added.
The haste with which the draft bill is being examined, he
said, "is a precursor of the things to come, once the process
for amending the constitution is over".
Other state finance ministers too said that the BJP-ruled
states sought more time to firm up their views on the darft
"BJP-ruled states do not want the Constitution Amendment
Bill to be passed now at this juncture. They want more time,"
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac said.
When asked how many BJP-ruled states wanted more time, he
said: "All the (BJP-ruled) states."
The government plans to introduce the Bill in the
current, Monsoon, session of Parliament to prepare the ground
for rolling out the GST from April 1, 2011.
Under the proposed plan, all central and state taxes like
excise, VAT and service tax will be subsumed into GST, once
the new indirect tax regime takes effect. The revenue from GST
will be shared equally between the Centre and states.
The Empowered Committee of States Finance Ministers on
GST is holding a meeting on redraft of the Constitution
Amendment Bill, after the first draft by the centre was
rejected by states on the charge that it would provide veto
power to the Union Finance Minister over states` taxation
The revised draft proposes to allay this apprehension,
suggesting that any decision on the GST could be taken only if
there is complete consensus on the issue from all sides.
With the BJP-ruled states not coming on board, the
centre`s plan to table the bill in the ongoing monsoon session
of parliament may hit a hurdle. State finance ministers are
expected to meet Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee later