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Modi to quit as GST panel head today

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 17.06.13

New Delhi, June 16 (PTI): The goods and services tax committee would have a new chairman with Sushil Kumar Modi ceasing to be Bihar finance minister following the JD(U)-BJP split.

Modi, the chairman of the empowered committee of state finance ministers for goods and services tax (GST), announced today he would relinquish his post tomorrow. The Centre would have to look for a new chairman once he quits the post.

“I will submit my resignation as the GST panel chief tomorrow. I will send my resignation to the Centre tomorrow around 10am,” Modi said.        

The JD(U) today snapped its ties with the BJP in Bihar in protest against the elevation of Narendra Modi, bringing to an end a 17-year-old alliance that had held firm through thick and thin in national politics.

The development could delay the implementation of the GST further because the new chairman would have to start afresh and build consensus among all states.

The GST bill, introduced in Parliament in 2010, is currently being vetted by the standing committee on finance. After the committee submits its report, the states and the Centre would together finalise the draft and bring it back to Parliament.

Modi had earlier assured that 80 per cent consensus had been built on the bill and the parliamentary committee would submit its report in a month’s time.

The empowered committee is entrusted with the task of designing the GST model and also overseeing the IT back-end preparedness for the rollout of the new regime.

GST will bring in a common tax regime for goods and services by subsuming most indirect taxes, and is expected to help increase revenue mop ups. The GST rollout has missed several deadlines on account of differences over the contentious issues of central sales tax compensation and the design of the GST structure between the states and the Centre.

Asim Dasgupta, the previous chairman of the empowered committee, had to step aside in 2011 after the CPM lost to Trinamul Congress in Bengal. Dasgupta chaired the post for over 10 years since 2000.

Conventionally, the post of the chairman of empowered committee has been with the opposition party. So now it is likely that the finance minister from BJP ruled states or Punjab and Odisha could chair the committee.

Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured that the long-awaited GST regime would be in place in an ”appropriate type” by 2014.