Finance minister Arun Jaitley, in his maiden full budget speech on Saturday, is expected to list out the roadmap for rolling out a country-wide goods and services tax (GST), the most ambitious reforms initiative in India.
Sources said that the minister will set deadlines for the government to adhere to the target of implementation of the GST by April 1, 2016.
The target, however, seems to be a daunting challenge for the government as it will have to get the Constitution Amendment Bill passed in Lok Sabha and also get it cleared in 15 state legislative assemblies to move forward.
Once, the government is able to do so, it will then have to invite comments from the industry and the trade unions, which will then be taken to the GST Council, headed by the finance minister himself.
The Bill will then have to be approved by at least half of the council members, which includes all state finance ministers.
“After this only the main implementation exercise of setting up and restructuring of the backend infrastructure — IT and logistics — can begin, which will also take a few months,” the source said, adding, that a clear roadmap would be talking about all these milestones.
Industry, too, is hoping to hear these deadlines from the finance minister.
“A lot is expected from the finance minister on GST. Now that the Constitutional Amendment Bill has been tabled in Parliament and is due for discussion, a clear roadmap for the implementation of GST should be shared with the country to hold the steam of the governments spirit for a faster implementation,” said Sachin Menon, COO, tax and regulatory services and head of indirect taxes, KPMG India.