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Pranab hints at GST delay
November, 11th 2009

The implementation of goods and services tax (GST) by April 2010 is likely to be delayed by a few months as it would involve discussions with different stakeholders and legislations including constitutional amendments.

This indication came from the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who chaired the meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers here on Tuesday.

As far dates (deadline for implementing GST) are concerned we are working on it. The Union Budget 2007-08 announced that GST would be applicable by April 2010. As a first step today, the Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers has released the discussion paper.

There will be discussions and deliberations with the all stakeholders. We will also look into it, said Mukherjee, who along with Asim Dasgupta, chairman of the empowered panel, released the first discussion paper on GST.

We will legislate and bring constitutional amendment where it is required. To complete these processes (to arrive at a GST that would benefit both Centre & States) it would require time, Mukherjee said to a question whether the implementation is being pushed by a few months time.

Dasgupta said issues raised by each State would be resolved in a democratic manner.

I remain confident about the target to be achieved. When I say we are working at it, we are very serious.  Every State has to be accommodated in a democratic manner. That is my responsibility, Dasgupta told reporters.

His remarks assume importance as states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are not in favour of introducing the GST from April 1, 2010.

As per the discussion paper GST would not cover alcohol products though tobacco products would be charged.

Significantly Crude oil, petrol and diesel products, the Panel decided to keep it out of the GSTs ambit, Dasgupta said.

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