EC of State Finance Ministers reaches consensus on various issues

Excelsior Correspondent
MEGHALAYA (SHILLONG), Nov 20: Achieving a significant milestone to unify the nation into one common market, the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers converged the views of various States and framed recommendations by consensus on the revised draft Constitution (One Hundred and Fifteenth Amendment) Bill, 2013 regarding introduction of Goods and Services Tax in India.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Committee, Abdul Rahim Rather, who is also Finance Minister of J&K in a two days marathon meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers chaired by him at Shillong in Meghalaya which concluded today.
Various issues including the crucial issues of settlement of CST compensation claims of various States and revised draft Constitutional Amendment Bill for GST were comprehensively deliberated upon in the meeting which was attended by the Chief Minister, Meghalia, Finance Ministers of various States, officers of Government of India and Taxation authorities of the States.
While giving details of the decisions taken and recommendations made, Mr. Rather said that the Empowered Committee has recommended that the special status enjoyed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir as guaranteed under the Constitution of India should not be tempered with in any case while introducing GST in the State. The arguments advanced by the State Finance Minister in this respect from time to time were unanimously agreed.
It was also recommended that an independent mechanism needs to be provided in the constitution for ensuring the determination and settlement of compensation to the states against the losses, if any, which they may suffer by the implementation of GST. The Empowered Committee also endorsed the view of most of the States, that the petroleum products, alcohol and Entry Tax, in lieu of Octrio, should not be brought within the ambit of GST.
The Empowered Committee was also against any provision in the constitution empowering Government of India to declare any goods as “goods of special importance” thus categorizing them as “declared goods”. The Empowered Committee also felt that insertion of GST in State and Union lists is not at all required as the proposed Article 246-A gives power to the Union and the States to levy GST.
Mr. Rather said that the Empowered Committee more or less agreed with the recommendations of the Committee of officers constituted by Empowered Committee to look into the revised draft Constitution (One Hundred Fifteenth Amendment) Bill, 2013.
Briefing the press after the meeting, Mr. Rather said that all the States and Union Territories of the country were in agreement for implementation of this important tax reform in the country provided the genuine concerns of the States were addressed appropriately while legislating GST in India.


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