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Centre likely to call another GST meeting next month

With consensus still eluding the proposed Goods and Services Tax regime, the Centre may call for another meeting with state finance ministers next month, before introducing the Constitutional Amendment Bill to pave the way for rolling out GST.

With consensus still eluding the proposed Goods and Services Tax regime, the Centre may call for another meeting with state finance ministers next month, before introducing the Constitutional Amendment Bill to pave the way for rolling out GST.

Sources said the meeting of the state finance ministers is likely to be called by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the recess of the Budget session, which will begin on February 21.

“As Finance Minister is busy with Budget preparations, he suggested (to the Committee) that there could be another round of meeting during the Budget recess,” said a highly placed official.

The government proposes to introduce the Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST in the second half of the Budget session.

“We have missed the timelines twice and it is my earnest request to you all (state finance ministers) that we move expeditiously and introduce the Constitutional Amendment Bill in the forthcoming Budget session,” Mukherjee told the state finance ministers recently.

While the first part of the Budget session will end on March 16, the second part will be from April 4 to April 21.

Since 2007, the government has been trying to introduce the new tax regime, under which GST will subsume most of the indirect taxes of the Centre and the states.

GST has already missed the implementation timeline of April 1, 2010 and it is unlikely to be introduced from the coming April 1, the start of the financial year 2011-12.

Last week, efforts by the Centre for a consensus on the proposed GST suffered a setback with 10 states opposing the new draft for the new regime that aims at changing India’s fiscal landscape.

Several states, mostly NDA-ruled states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, are opposed to draft proposals saying that their autonomy would be compromised.

In its latest GST constitution amendment draft — the third of its kind — the Centre has proposed to give power to Parliament for constituting the GST council, a move vehemently opposed by the BJP-ruled states.

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