Finance ministers to meet in July too on pending GST issues: Jaitley

Kolkata, June 14 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday did not firmly commit to a April 1, 2017 deadline for enforcing the GST, though “hopefully that should be the intention”, as he laid a roadmap for the proposed tax regime, and announced that state finance ministers would meet again next month to thrash out some of the pending issues.

“Hopefully, that should be the intention. But then the schedule would be, first the constitutional amendment (to be approved by the parliament), it’s ratification by the states, the passage of the CGST and IGST by the parliament, and the passage of SGST by all the states,” Jaitley told media persons on the sidelines of a meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers on the GST here.

He said apart from the legislational requirements, the entire supportive infrastructure has to be built, “which is also in a state of near readiness”.

To another query on the April 1 deadline, he said: “We don’t reach deadlines, we just move forward with a forward intention.”

Other than Jaitley, empowered committee chairman Amit Mitra, the West Bengal finance minister, and 21 of his other state counterparts took part in the deliberations at a five star hotel here. Seven other states deputed their senior officials.

Marking out the future roadmap, Jaitley said: “We will try our best to see that the constitutional amendments are approved in the monsoon session.

“And therefore, by the end of the year, we must have the CGST and the SGST legislations in place.”

Thereafter the centre would then pass the IGST legislation, he added.

The drafts of all the legislations have been circulated, and the meeting decided that the drafts would be put in the public domain.

The union minister said the states wanted more discussions on two issues.

“With regard to a further clarity on how the RNR (Revenue Neutral Rate) itself will be calculated, therefore, Mitra would be convening a meeting sometime in July again. Before that our officers will be also meeting separately.”

In the ministerial meeting, presentations would be made on the possible RNR calculations by the Chief Economic Adviser.

Jaitley said the second issue related to a dual control of management of the taxation structure that could rise between the centre and the states once GST was implemented.

“A large part of the discussions today also centred around the idea of a dual control. How this is workable, and that it shouldn’t lead to any conflict or repugnancy, and therefore it should be worked out harmoniously between the centre and the states,” he said, stressing that the procedure should be clearly streamlined.

“It is therefore necessary that revenue experts, and those who have dealt with the management in the centre and the states should meet and come to this harmonious system by which it is worked out and the next meeting of the finance ministers, a presentation on this use will be made.”

–IANS

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