April deadline for GST can be met, says FM

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Published on Sep 28, 2016 11:52 AM IST
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ByPress Trust of India

MUMBAI: Lauding the progress achieved so far on the implementation of goods and services tax (GST), finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday exuded confidence that it is “reasonably possible” to meet the April 1, 2017 deadline to roll out the new indirect tax regime.

“There has hardly been an opportunity, in fact there has been none, where I’ve seen state finance ministers dividing themselves on party lines (as on GST). If this trend goes on, I am quite certain, it may be reasonably possible for us to meet the deadline (April 1, 2017), however difficult it may be,” Jaitley said at the SBI Economic Conclave here.

Noting that states have realised the importance of competitiveness and attracting investments, Jaitley said getting the GST through was “troublesome” as it involved completely changing the powers of the Union and the states. “It required consensus building so that we had shared sovereignty,” he observed adding “GST progress showed that we have the stamina for reforms”.

The GST council, which is mandated to look into issues of dual control and threshold rates, is slated to meet on October 17 and will hopefully to finalise rates by November.

With regard to public sector banks, the finance minister said they constrained by old laws when it comes to restructuring bad loans. “We have to give a level playing field to public sector banks. Our public sector is still constrained with some obsolete laws,” Jaitley said when asked about the banks’ NPA problems.

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