Government is aiming to resolve the issues hampering GST roll out within this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Lok Sabha.
“The government targets to find a solution in the course of this year and approve the legislative scheme which enables the introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax),” he said during Question Hour.
Asserting that government is “willing to take a pragmatic view”, Jaitley said it does not want a “token GST, but a substantial GST… There should be consensus (with states)”.
He assured the House that no decision on GST introduction will be taken without consulting the states.
“Government has also assured states that it will compensate for any revenue loss incurred by them, from the date of introduction of GST, for a period of three years,” he said.
Referring to GST implementation, Jaitley said, “Time has come for pragmatic approach…One or two exceptions the government can consider.”
“If too many taxes are excluded, the objectives of GST will not succeed…It (GST) is a good cause that everybody fall in line,” he noted.
The Finance Minister said various issues such as compensation to states, rate of taxation and possible exemptions are all on the drawing board.
“States’ concerns with regard to the GST mainly relate to loss of revenue, fiscal autonomy, compensation, keeping certain items out of GST, subsuming of certain taxes in GST etc,” Jaitley said.
“Certain states may face problems in initial stages of GST implementation…Those will be discussed,” he said.
According to the Minister, GST proposals would help in spurring growth and employment.
“GST is likely to bring about a fundamental change in the tax structure by redistributing the burden of taxation equitably between goods and services,” Jaitley said.
Noting that concerns on GST are mostly state-specific, he cited the examples of Punjab, which is concerned about purchase tax, and Gujarat, where there are concerns about loss of manufacturing revenues.
In response to a query on the outcome of GST panel’s visits to various countries, Jaitley said such visits should not be seen merely as “jaunts” but as opportunities to understand international best practices.