The first meeting of the newly-constituted Goods and Services Tax Council, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as chairman, is scheduled for two days from Thursday amid high expectations that the country will see a new indirect tax scheme in place from April 1, 2017, as targeted.
Among the items on the meeting's agenda is the election of a vice chairman of the council -- likely to be one of the members of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, officials said.
Other items on the agenda include deliberations on the actual GST base rate, the various slabs, the items that need to be subsumed into and exempted from the new regime, and draft Central, State and Integrated GST laws.
"A discussion on dispute resolution mechanism is also an important issue on the agenda,"a finance ministry official said.
The progress in GST is being monitored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. "The Prime Minister has directed that all steps must be completed much before April 1, 2017," a statement from his office had said last week.
"In order to ensure that there is no slippage on date of implementation of GST from April 1, 2017, the Prime Minister reviewed the progress made on various steps needed for the roll out of GST relating to preparation of model GST laws and rules to be framed, establishment of IT infrastructure for both centre and states, training of officers and outreach for awareness of trade and industry."
GST, which is considered as the biggest tax reform since Independence, will do away with the indirect taxes and usher in one tax for the entire country. The bill was unanimously passed by Parliament last month and over 18 States have ratified the bill.