July 18, 2011, New Delhi: Deputy chief minister of Bihar and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushil Kumar Modi was elected as the new chairman of the empowered committee of state finance ministers on Monday, as the process to roll out a nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) entered the final lap. The move to
appoint Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio in Bihar, is being seen as an attempt to hammer out a consensus on the proposed tax regime, which so far has been opposed by BJP-ruled states.
Modi has advised the Centre to be flexible and take on board concerns of states.
“If the Centre is not flexible, implementation would be difficult. States concerns must be addressed,” he said. In March, the government introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill to roll out a uniform GST in the country.
If adopted, GST can dramatically alter tax administration by giving a one-shot solution to a welter of levies such as excise, value added tax and octroi.
The Bill has proposed a dual GST structure – one for Centre and the other for states—but has steered clear of making commitment on rates.
“We are all very positive that under the leadership of Modi all the issues which have been pending between the Centre and states will be amicably solved,” said Saurabh bhai Patel, finance minister, Gujarat.