State FMs to meet on May 7 in Kerala

Friday, Apr 10, 2015,20:01 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | A consensus would be built among states for implementation of the Goods and Services Tax by April 2016 as there is no obstinate opposition from any state, said K M Mani, the newly selected Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers.
Mani, who is the Kerala Finance Minister, said the next meeting of the panel would be held in Kerala on May 7 and 8. 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 told reporters here.
In December 2014, government had introduced the long-pending GST Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha for roll-out of GST. The new indirect regime that subsumes various levies like entry tax and octroi is likely to be rolled out from April 2016.
Certain states have argued that implementation of GST would be beneficial for consuming states, while for their manufacturing counterparts like Maharashtra and Gujarat it could be challenging. Asked about the opposition from Gujarat, Mani said the interests of all states would be protected.
Gujarat has certain apprehensions and certain states have certain apprehensions. We will remove that and we have a consensus decision… We will safeguard the interest of all the states, producing states and consumer states, he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier expressed the hope that the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill will be passed in the upcoming session of Parliament beginning April 20.
Queried on the Centre’s plans to implement GST by April 2016, Mani said: I cannot exactly say. But that is the present schedule. We will try to materialise the object by that time.
On opposition from Left parties in Kerala on his being selected the Chairman of the GST committee as an FIR has been registered against him in a bribery case, Mani said it was political. That is political. It is a political statement because they are in opposition. They know that I am an experienced person having 50 years of legislative experience and about 30 years of ministerial experience.
If I am the Chairman of the Empowered Committee, they know that it will not be an advantage for the opposition, Mani said.