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70% chances of GST going through during UPA II tenure: Chidambaram

PTI  New Delhi, April 24, 2013
First Published: 13:43 IST(24/4/2013) | Last Updated: 13:49 IST(24/4/2013)

Finance minister P Chidambaram Wednesday said work on Goods and Services Tax (GST) was in progress and there was 70% possibility of the indirect tax legislation being passed in Parliament during the remaining tenure of the UPA-II.

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"GST is possible, but it's possible only if the Central government and all the state governments, which are now ruled by eight-nine different political parties, were together," he said at The Economist's India Summit in New Delhi.

The minister said he was able to build consensus on VAT when he was the finance minister during the UPA-I term.

"I am trying to forge a similar consensus on GST... Now we reached a stage where the empowered council (of state finance ministers) has authorised us to draft a constitution amendment bill, (and) a normal bill for introducing GST," he said.

When asked about the chances of GST being passed during the remaining 13 months of the present government at the Centre, the finance minister said it was about 70%.

"I think the chances are close to 70%. If the bills are endorsed (by the Council), then I think the chances of their passing are much higher," he said.

He said the bills are being drafted.

"We are moving ahead. Once the two draft bills are ready, I expect the next step can be taken... to get it endorsed by the Council and then go to Parliament," he said.

Chidambaram quoted Sushil Kumar Modi, chairman of empowered council of state finance ministers saying that 80% of the work on the GST has been done. Modi too was confident that GST will go forward.

Implementation of GST, which will subsume most of the indirect taxes, has missed several deadlines.

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