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Jaitley warns of delay in GST roll-out if bill sent to house panel


New Delhi, May 5:

Commending the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2014 for the Lok Sabha’s consideration and passing, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday that referring it back to the Standing Committee would result in missing the target deadline for its implementation next year, despite the broad consensus already achieved.

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

“Barring some issues, there is a broad consensus (on GST), majority of parliament is involved. All states, including Orissa (Odisha) and West Bengal, from day one are going to be beneficiaries,” Jaitley told the lower house.

“For two years it has been with the Standing Committee. If parliament wants to further delay GST, the April 2016 deadline will be lost and the whole financial year will also be lost,” he added.

The government is trying to implement the new GST bill before April 2016.

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M.Thambi Durai informed the house that Jaitley had written last year asking for the bill not to be referred to the Standing Committee on Finance on the ground that the earlier bill brought by the then UPA government in 2011 had already been pending for long with the house committee.

The finance minister told a news channel on Monday that there is broad consensus on the GST bill and he has tried to allay the apprehensions of opposition members that there will be revenue losses to states upon its implementation.

“I have convened several meetings of state finance ministers. I have spoken to most political parties and broadly there is a large consensus,” he said.

Seen as a key to facilitate industrial growth and improve the business climate in the country, the GST bill, which involves a constitutional amendment, needs to be passed by a two-third majority in both houses of parliament and by the legislatures of half of the states in the country to become a law.

By subsuming most indirect taxes levied by the central and state governments such as excise duty, service tax, VAT and sales tax, the GST proposes to facilitate a common market across the country, leading to economies of scale and reducing inflation through an efficient supply chain. (IANS)