Srinagar: Several state finance ministers skipped the 14th meeting of the goods and services tax (GST) council in Srinagar.
They include Amit Mitra from Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal, Odisha’s Shashi Bhusan Behera and Tripura’s Bhanu Lal Saha. While Odisha is ruled by the Biju Janata Dal, the Left Front is in power in Tripura.
“Five finance ministers haven’t come. Even then, it is the largest gathering of state finance ministers ever for a GST council meeting,” said a state government official requesting anonymity.
“Mitra has been indisposed and hence couldn’t make the meeting,” said another person, who too did not wish to be named.
To be sure, the states have sent their representatives.
The two-day GST council meeting got underway on Thursday in the Jammu and Kashmir capital with the aim of making the idea of “one nation, uniform tax” a reality.
A total of 27 state ministers are participating in the meeting chaired by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley to give final shape to the indirect tax regime set to kick off on 1 July.
As host, the Jammu and Kashmir government is treating the visiting ministers as state guests, conferring upon them the required security and privileges.
More than 12 states have already cleared their respective state GST laws. They will now have to notify rules under those laws. Before the end of May, all states are expected to complete the legislative work related to GST.