No consensus on GST yet

Members of Parliament from opposition parties demanded changes in the decision-making process of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, the supreme body that will govern the proposed indirect tax structure and which will be empowered to decide in case of a dispute between states and Centre.
In the third meeting of the consultative committee on finance, MPs told finance minister P Chidambaram that to make GST acceptable to states, the government must make the decision-making powers of the GST Council more “practicable by providing decisions with two-third majority of the states rather than on consensus basis”.
Spelling out reasons that were holding back GST, members said, “The issue of loss to the states be
settled to the satisfaction of all states before we march forward.”
Chidambaram, however, impressed upon the members the need to have GST implemented without delay. He said GST was a more effective and efficient substitute for indirect taxes. The FM hoped that the GST Bill would be passed before April 1, 2013.
He admitted that there were still pending issues and that those would be resolved. The FM said the objective was to put in place an effective and efficient tax system which was friendly and fair to the taxpayers. A presentation was earlier made on the GST network system by officials of Central Board of Excise and Customs.
The common and shared infrastructure being rolled out for GST would be leveraged for providing benefits to both Centre and states, even prior to rollout of GST.

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