GST Logjam: Roll-out difficult, Council to meet again on December 22

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GST – Goods and Services Tax roll-out seems difficult as the Centre and States failed to approve the GST laws. Both the parties to the bill will meet again on December 22 and 23 to build consensus. It is now clear that GST bill will not be introduced in the ongoing winter session of Parliament. This situation also makes it very difficult to meet the roll-out deadline of April 1.

GST - Goods and Services Tax logjam

GST Bill May not roll-out until April 2017

Goods and Services Tax council agreed to meet on December 22 and 23. Various states urged that Monday’s meeting be deferred due to Eid-e-Milad.

The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that bulk of the legislative drafting is complete. He also said that cross empowerment issue requires more time to discuss. He believed that the discussion on the legislation and its approval is moving satisfactorily. Jaitley also hoped that in the next meeting it will be cleared.

The Centre and states have been wrestling on the issue of administrative control post-implementation of GST. Since demonetization, the GST planning seems slowed down due to politics. West Bengal had argued that demonetization will impact GST revenues whereas Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bihar have also sought administrative control over both goods and services below Rs 1.5 crore.

Jaitley said on Sunday that “Well, that issue did not co me up for discussion today because today’s agenda was taken up exclusively by the legislation and that’s an issue which is still flagged and still pending. I have various options ready for discussion and as and when it is discussed we will place those options before the council.”

He also mentioned that the government is still firm on the rollout date of April 1. He also mentioned the GST as one of government’s key reform priorities.

The Finance Minster said to reporters that “I told you after the last meeting also our target is the 1st of April. The luxury of time is not available to us for the simple reason that if 1st April is the first possible day it can be implemented, then the last date also is constitutionally defined as 16th of September 2017.”

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