In a meeting to review the preparations for the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax or GST by April 1 next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday directed that all steps including preparation of Model GST laws and rules, establishment of IT infrastructure for both Centre and States, training of officers of central and state governments must be completed before the government’s deadline.
The PM observed that the GST Council would need to have intensive meetings to be able to make timely recommendations relating to its mandate provided in 279A including making recommendations relating to Model GST laws and GST rates, news agency ANI reported.
Yesterday, Modi held the meeting to ensure that there is no slippage on the date of implementation of GST from April 1 where Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also made presentation.
Along with Jaitley, the meeting was also attended by both the Ministers of State for Finance, senior officers from the Prime Minister's Office and the Finance ministry.
Jaitley, along with Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, made a presentation to the Prime Minister on the state of readiness for creation of a national sales tax (or GST), the biggest tax reform since the Independence.
The review meeting came within days of the Union Cabinet approving setting up of all powerful GST Council, which will decide on the tax rate, exempted goods and the threshold.
Official sources said besides listing milestones achieved so far, the presentation detailed the steps to follow including the timetable to get the supporting legislations approved.
Sources said the Prime Minister wanted to understand the main areas where he should focus his mind on. Also, he wanted an update on the revenue neutral rate, IT backbone being developed and concerns of the states.
The first meeting of the GST Council, which will be headed by Finance Minister, will be held on September 22-23, and the panel is to give its recommendations on the tax rate and other provisions within 60 days.
The Prime Minister was also briefed about the widespread demand for keeping GST rate at 18-19 per cent, expectations of states from the new regime and the impact of different tax slabs on the Centre in terms of compensation it has to pay states for loss of revenue.
The government is keen to implement the new regime from April 1 so as to ensure a smooth rollover to the changed tax structure from the beginning of the new fiscal and avoid mid- year alterations.
Sources said GST implementation is running ahead of schedule so far, within more than anticipated number of states ratifying the Constitutional amendment within the 30-day timeline set by the Centre.
The focus now shifts to creating the IT infrastructure and preparing traders, businessmen and companies to smoothly shift to the new taxation regime that will subsume an array of central and state levies including central excise duty, service tax, VAT and entry tax.
Parallely, the supporting legislations -- Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) -- details the tax rates, exempted goods and bands, is planned to be approved in the Winter Session of Parliament in November, sources said.