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Broad consensus among states on GST

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Apr 22:

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said there is broad consensus among states on the issue of Goods and Services Tax and an amendment bill will be passed in the current session of Parliament.

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

“In view of almost near unanimous support from all states since it’s a win-win situation for all we will go ahead for Constitutional amendment in the current session of the Parliament. The Constitutional amendment will need the support of two third members in both the houses of the Parliament and thereafter ratification by the states,” said Jaitley speaking to reporters after meeting Finance Ministers from 18 States to discuss the roadmap for the rollout of the GST.

Jaitley said introduction of the GST will create a nationwide unified market and remove trade barriers in the form of cascading effects of taxation, from April 1, 2016.

“I will give a notice in the Lok Sabha (for taking up of the bill) in couple of days,” he said and added that a lot of homework has been already done in this regard.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2014.

The Centre is working towards addressing concerns of all States for rolling out GST on the scheduled date.

Earlier at the meeting, Odisha Finance Minister Pradip Amat demanded early payment of arrears by the Centre with regard to compensation for losses sustained due to CST before introduction of GST. The Centre today promised to release the payments in phases.

“Our state was to get around Rs 4,720 crore against which we have received Rs 1303 crore by 2013-14 and in the current fiscal we have received around Rs 161 crore. The Union Finance Minister has agreed to release it to Odisha and other states in a phased manner,” informed Amat to reporters.

Amat also placed three more demands at the meeting. Odisha proposed for some mechanism for imposition of green tax in view of pollution due to mining, more voting rights for state at the empowered committee and powers to the state for imposition of tobacco tax.

The Centre and States are also working on a new Revenue Neutral Rate, which is currently pegged at 27 per cent. RNR is one at which there will be no revenue loss to states after GST implementation.

The recalculation of RNR is necessary as at present it does not take into account the taxation of petroleum products as also the 1 per cent additional tax which states can levy as part of the GST Bill.

A single rate GST will replace central excise, State VAT, entertainment tax, octroi, entry tax, luxury tax and purchase tax on goods and services to ensure seamless transfer and end of “inspector raj” as well as “tax on tax,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley had last week said that the implementation of the landmark GST regime would increase India’s GDP by 1-2 per cent.