NEW DELHI: The state Finance Minister, Mr. Abdul Rahim Rather, who is also the chairman Empowered Committee of state Finance Ministers of India has expressed confidence that Goods and Service Tax (GST) could be implemented in India once the concerns of the states were examined and resolved. “Every state wants GST to be implemented, only, they want their concerns to be addressed”, he told news persons after a meeting of the Empowered Committee which was held in New Delhi yesterday under the chairmanship of Mr. Rather.
During the meeting, Mr. Rather made it abundantly clear that before rolling out this new Tax reform, the Govt. of India shall have to sort out all thorny issues around GST. Enumerating these issues, Mr. Rather said that fixing the compensation issue is critical to roll out GST. The consensus that emerged in the meeting was that there should be an independent mechanism for compensation of revenue loss, if any, that may be suffered by the states as a result of implementation of GST and it should be guaranteed constitutionally.
The other issue relates to the inclusion or otherwise of the petroleum products in the GST. The states were predominantly of the view that the petroleum products should be kept outside the purview of GST. The states were also of the view that Entry Tax should also not be subsumed in GST as this would dry the local bodies of a very important resource.
The Empowered Committee also recommended that the share of Govt. of India in GST on supplies in the course of interstate trade or commerce, as determined by the law should also be subject to devolution to the states as per the Finance Commission formula.
Later in the day the Empowered Committee of state Finance Ministers had elaborate discussions with the Union Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jately, in Vighyan Bhavan, New Delhi. Mr. Rather comprehensively briefed the Minister about the concerns of the states regarding the introduction of GST and strongly pleaded their resolution so that decks were cleared for the rolling out of the new Tax regime. He thanked Govt. of India for having accepted many of the recommendations of the Empowered Committee made in its Shillong meeting held in the month of Nov, 2013. He expressed gratitude that the re- revised draft of the Constitutional Amendment Bill has accommodated most of the points raised earlier by the Empowered Committee.
Mr. Rather in the meeting with the Union Finance Minister strongly pleaded that while implementing GST in J&K, the special position of the State guaranteed under the Constitution of India should not be tampered with.
The Union Finance Minister assured the Empowered Committee that Govt. of India was keen to sort out all the issues so as to set the GST rolling.