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Committee on GST rate to submit report next month: Sinha

A high-powered committee to suggest revenue neutral GST rate will submit its report in the first week of December, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said.

A high-powered committee to suggest revenue neutral GST rate will submit its report in the first week of December, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said.

“We just had a consultation with the Chief Economic Advisor and his committee that has been studying the question of revenue neutral rate. They have pulled together a lot of data from many different sources.

“So we have a comprehensive set of number. We have finalised the parameters that will be necessary to establish the rates. That is now being looked at. We will have something by the first week of  December,” he told reporters here.

The government is hoping to get the bill approved in the winter session beginning on November 26 and complete the other necessary legislative work by March 31. Sinha said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on several occasions stressed that government’s goal is to “come at a reasonable rate” that will be good for the economy. “…and that’s what the Chief Economic Advisor (Arvind Subramanian) and his committee have taken under advisement and I am sure they will consider all of that as they put together their analysis,” Sinha added.

He said the report will be issued in the first week of December. The minister further said the government was in continuous consultation with the opposition parties on the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST). The Constitution amendment bill for introduction of GST, a new indirect tax regime, has been passed by Lok Sabha, and is pending in Rajya Sabha where the ruling alliance does not have majority.

“We are trying to talk with them about all the aspects of GST…we all recognise how important this is for the economy for all of India so we are in continuous discussion to see what we can do to get it passed in the Winter Session.” Further, Sinha said the “right now what we are working” on is to ensure that there is a consensus on GST itself and some of the contentious matters that are associated with it.

“What the actual rate is in any case is to be established not by the constitution amendment but by the GST bill.  “Of course we have had some input that there should be a rate that is fixed by the constitution amendment itself. So that is an item under discussion but as of now our view is that that should be in the GST bill and not in constitutional amendment,” the minister said.

Some opposition parties are demanding that the GST rate should be fixed at 18 percent. The Rajya Sabha Select Committee has suggested that the GST rate should not go beyond 20 percent as higher rates could fuel inflation and erode the confidence of consumers.

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