As the government begins the process to successfully implement the single nation-wide goods and services tax (GST), finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday met the empowered committee of state finance ministers to chalk out details.
Jaitley said that the constitution amendment bill on GST will be considered in the second part of the Budget session beginning April 20.
However, the new chairman of the committee was not appointed as a few finance ministers could not attend the meeting. “We had a meeting with the (state) finance ministers who were here... By consensus, we will have the new chairman of the empowered committee in the next few days,” Jaitley said.
The delay in electing a new chairperson would not be an impediment in the process of taking the GST bill forward, he added. “The primary agenda is to take the GST forward. I hope the constitution amendment bill, which has already been cleared by the standing committee, will be considered by Parliament in the second part of the session. The finance ministers of states will have to decide as to who the new chairman of the committee will be. We may need to have another meeting for further consultation,” Jaitley said.
The election of a chairperson is important as he will have to achieve a consensus among states on the design of GST and have to devote time to overseeing the implementation.
The chairman post fell vacant as its erstwhile chairman Abdul Rahim Rather, former finance minister of Jammu & Kashmir, lost the assembly elections.
Various names such as of Gujarat finance minister Saurabh Patel, West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Kerala finance minister KM Mani are doing the rounds for the post of chairperson.