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Arun Jaitley to meet state finance ministers on Wednesday over GST
Tuesday April 21, 2015 11:33 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will meet his counterparts from states here on Wednesday for discussion on implementing the proposed goods and services tax (GST) from April next year.

Jaitley would chair the first meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST after Kerala Finance Minister K.M. Mani became the new chairman, a ministry source told IANS on Tuesday.

The government plans to get the Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST passed in the ongoing session of parliament that reconvened on Monday after a month-long recess. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December.

Earlier this month, Mani told reporters here that there is no "obstinate opposition" from any state to the Goods and Services Tax Bill and a consensus would be built for its implementation by April 2016.

"Most of the states have welcomed GST. Only very few states are opposing. Even they are also agreeing gradually. I think there is no obstinate opposition from any state," he said.

The union cabinet last month approved payment of compensation to states for the loss they would incur on account of reduction in the central sales tax (CST) from 4 percent to 2 percent for three years from fiscal 2010-11.

The sources said that based on preliminary estimates, Rs.33,0000 crore appears to be payable to states and union territories for the entire period and settling these claims will help create an enabling environment for rollout of the GST.

The states want petroleum, alcohol and tobacco to be kept out of the purview of the GST.

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

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