The biggest threat to reforms in India is an unstable government at the Centre after 2014, finance minister P Chidambaram told investors and analysts in Singapore on Wednesday as he defined the broad contours of the economic agenda in the coming months.
“The FM hopes to pass the Insurance Bill and the Pension Bill in the budget session of Parliament. He mentioned that behind the noise, there were quiet negotiations with the opposition parties and support from them,” said a research note Bank of American Merrill Lynch that hosted a meeting between Chidambaram and investors in Singapore.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is unlikely to be passed by April 2013. “But the FM hopes to introduce the Bill in the monsoon session and pass it in the winter session in December this year,” the report said.
Billed as India’s biggest tax reform initiative, GST promises to stitch together a common national market by replacing a welter of local levies such as value-added tax (VAT) and octroi by a single tax.
“If there is a consensus with the states on these issues, the FM is hoping to move the GST legislation in the monsoon session of Parliament and pass the Bill in the winter session,” the report said.
As reported in HT on January 22, Chidambaram promised a stable tax regime maintaining that efforts would be made to widen the tax base.
The finance minister was confident of keeping the fiscal deficit-broadly refers to the amount of money that the government borrows to fund its expenses — for this year at 5.3% of GDP.