Odisha became the 16th state to ratify the constitutional amendment that will pave the way for the roll-out of the (GST). Ratified now by more than half the 29 States, the amendment requires only the President’s assent which, it is expected, to receive expeditiously before the Centre can notify it. Odisha government will approach the President for his assent to the constitutional amendment as soon as we receive from the 16 States their legislative resolutions ratifying it. After the notification, the Centre and the States will immediately move to set up the proposed GST Council. Union Finance Minister had earlier indicated that the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers itself is likely to be made the Council. While the committee is headed by West Bengal Finance Minister, the council is expected to be chaired by the Union Finance Minister. The work at both the back and front ends was going on simultaneously for ensuring that the new tax, which will subsume all indirect taxes and levies, could be rolled out in the next financial year. This includes the technical support systems as well the Central and State rules that will have to be in place before then. It is indeed a right move in the right direction.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)