Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday that all states, except Tamil Nadu, have openly backed the proposed Goods and Services Tax Bill. The announcement came during a meeting of the finance ministers of various states in Kolkata to discuss the proposed legislation. Jaitley said he is now confident of rolling out the GST from next financial year, that is April 1, 2017.
The GST Bill seeks to bring in a single tax regime for the whole country. It will replace all indirect taxes levied on goods and services by the Central and state governments.
Jaitley added that the states unanimously decided there should not be any cap on the GST rate, as demanded by the Congress. The party had said it would support the Bill if the government agreed to cap the tax rate at 18 per cent and the additional 1 per cent tax scrapped to compensate states for possible revenue loss. The government is now hoping that the Rajya Sabha will clear the Bill in the coming monsoon session of the Parliament.
The meeting, which had been organised to reach a consensus on the proposed Bill, saw record attendance. Apart from the finance ministers of 22 states, around 100 other representatives were present. West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra is chairing the two-day meeting, and the next session is likely to be held in July.