Centre closer to finding a solution on GST: Nirmala Sitharaman

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The Centre is closer to finding a solution to approve a legislative scheme, which enables the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said as per the PTI report.

"Several meetings have been held with representatives from states and all would think we are closer to a solution on the GST," Ms. Sitharaman told reporters on the sidelines of an interaction with stakeholders in coffee industry in Bangalore.

The Finance Ministers of states have been pressing for lowering the threshold limit to Rs 10 lakh for imposing GST on entities and asked the Centre to specify GST compensation structure for five years in the Constitutional Amendment Bill.

Centre closer to finding a solution on GST: Nirmala Sitharaman
The states also have been demanding legal powers, and not only administrative powers, to collect tax from businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore.

"On the GST, the Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) has very clearly indicated that the Constitutional amendment will be brought in the winter session," she said.

The UPA Government in 2011 introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha to pave the way for the GST regime which aims at subsuming most of the indirect taxes at the central as well as the state levels.

On deregulation of diesel prices announced on Saturday, she said, "We are towards reform; want to deregulate; want to make it reasonable, and when further prices come down everybody will benefit given the market considerations. So, our inclination is to deregulate."

In much-awaited reform, government on October 18 had deregulated diesel prices for the first time in over five years - a move that resulted in a price cut of Rs 3.37 a litre.

Asked if the gas price hike to $5.61 per mmBtu on heat value would not come as a deterrent for foreign companies looking upstream operations, Ms. Sitharaman said the central government has come up with an alternative from the point of view of consumers and investors.

"The government has come up with an alternative, keeping the price reasonable - reasonable from the point of view of the consumer, and reasonable from the point of view of attracting investment. Otherwise, nobody wants to come and invest," she said.

Read more about: gst, nirmala sitharaman
Story first published: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 9:20 [IST]
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