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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address the empowered committee of state finance ministers in Kolkata on Tuesday. Photo: Mint
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address the empowered committee of state finance ministers in Kolkata on Tuesday. Photo: Mint

GST design: Arun Jaitley to address state finance ministers meeting

The empowered group of state finance ministers are meeting on 14-15 June to finalize the design of GST

New Delhi: The stakes for the upcoming empowered committee meeting to be held in June have just gone up. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address the empowered committee of state finance ministers in Kolkata on Tuesday as the centre makes a final push to achieve a consensus on the goods and services tax.

The empowered group of state finance ministers, headed by West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, are meeting on 14-15 June to finalize the design of GST.

This is probably the first time in the past few years that a Union finance minister is addressing the panel of state finance ministers outside of the national capital, reflecting the crucial timing of the meeting. A finance ministry spokesperson confirmed the move.

The central government is hoping to implement GST from 1 April 2017. But for this, the government needs to ensure that the constitution amendment bill necessary for its rollout gets passed in the monsoon session of Parliament.

Though the bill received Lok Sabha’s nod last year, it is yet to be passed by Rajya Sabha, where the National Democratic Alliance is in a minority. The Congress party has been insisting that it will support the bill only after its demands are included in the bill.

To be sure, the government is confident that the bill will be passed with two-third majority when put to vote in the Rajya Sabha and is trying to convince all non-Congress parties to support the move.

The Congress has 64 members in the 245-member house as on 13 June, as per the Rajya Sabha website while the government needs the support of more than 163 members to get the constitution amendment bill passed.

Subsequently, the government also has to finalize the draft of the GST law in consultation with states.

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