Bihar Dy CM is GST panel chief

New Delhi, July 18, DHNS : The process for putting in place the much-awaited new tax regime of Goods & Service Tax (GST) got a boost, on Monday, with Bihar Deputy Chief Minister & Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi being ”unanimously” elected as new chairman of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers (ECSFM) on GST.

Modi, who will replace former West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, was elected to head the ECSFM at its meeting convened by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Sushil K Modi

Sushil K Modi

“Modi has been elected unanimously as the Chairman of the ECSFM,” Mukherjee told reporters. Mukherjee had invited State Finance Ministers for the meeting of ECSFM to find a new chairman of the ministerial panel, which has been mandated to evolve modalities for introduction of the GST.

The post remained vacant ever since Dasgupta lost in West Bengal Assembly poll concluded in second week of May. Modi had earlier shown reluctance to head the ECSFM because of his party BJP’s opposition to certain propositions of the GST.

But Mukherjee was keen on Modi heading the ECSFM as appointment of Finance Minister of a BJP-ruled state would help in building the consensus on various vexed issues of the GST.

The GST, which is being touted as one of the most radical tax reforms, seeks to subsume most of the indirect taxes like excise duty and service tax at the central level and value added tax (VAT) on the state front besides local levies.

But the implementation of GST has been facing hurdles for years due to differences between the Centre and some states over the new structure.

The GST roll out was first scheduled for April 1, 2010. But the exercise was postponed by a year as the Center and states failed to reach a consensus on the Constitution Amendment Bill (CAB), which is needed for putting in place the new tax regime.

After introducing the CAB in the last Budget session of Parliament the Center is now hoping to implement the GST from April 1, 2012. The CAB would need the approval of two-thirds majority of Parliament and at least half of country’s 28 states to become a law.

Source: Deccan Herald

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