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Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 20, 2013
The parliamentary panel on finance cleared the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill on Friday but asked the Centre to make a road map for the implementation of the single-tax system for goods and services. Currently, Centre and states have their own taxes. It also suggested that the government should assure the revenue-losing states that an automatic mechanism for transfer of funds for compensation will be effected.

The long-pending bill aims to usher in the biggest tax reforms in the country and the panel’s clearance paves the way for the government to push the bill in the upcoming monsoon session.

The Centre, however, may opt to wait further as an empowered group of finance ministers is still considering various suggestions on it.

While clearing the path of the bill, the Yashwant Sinha-led Standing Committee on Finance on Friday, however, observed that the government is yet to make up its mind on the proposed legislation.

“The finance ministry has set up one after another committee. Their roll-out plan looks uncertain,” said a panel member.

The GST has been a bone of contention between the Congress and the opposition parties even before its introduction in March 2011, leading to its missing of several deadlines.