FM to meet GST panel on Nov 8

Finance minister P Chidambaram will meet members of the Empowered Committee (EC) of state finance ministers' on November 8 to discuss the way forward on the proposed Goods and Services tax (GST) and discuss issues raised by several states including the compensation for phasing out the Central Sales Tax (CST), sources said.

Before meeting the EC members, the finance minister will meet the chairman of the committee, Sushil Modi on October 22 to discuss the contentious issues and garner support for the pending Constitution Amendment Bill on the new indirect tax regime.

The Bill is currently being vetted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance. The committee had raised certain queries to which the revenue department has already responded. The report of the committee is awaited. After a slew of reforms announced recently, implementation of GST would be the next big-bang reform, eagerly awaited by industry as it will reduce the cascading effect of taxes substantially.

Earlier, while talking to a conference of economic editors, Chidambaram had said he was confident that after meeting Modi and the entire EC, the issues delaying the rollout of GST would be resolved. The finance minister had earlier met Modi in August to discuss the impasse and build consensus on the Bill.

The introduction of GST has already missed two deadlines beginning April 1, 2010, when it was originally scheduled to be rolled out. The idea was first mooted in 2006-07.

The passage of the Bill is vital for the introduction of the new indirect tax regime, which would subsume both state and central levies. Chidambaram had exuded confidence that the Bill would be passed by Parliament before this fiscal-end.

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