GST Council to meet for the first time today

The recently constituted Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council will meet for the first time on Thursday.

An official said in the two-day meeting, all issues facing the roll-out of the centralised indirect tax regime would be on the table.

Some of the issues that will come up before the council - chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and comprising state finance or other ministers - are draft model GST Bills, rates, dual control over assesses and area-based exemptions.According to sources, it was likely the council would elect a vice-chairman from the state ministers.

It would have around two months to thrash out the issue before the winter session of Parliament. The deadline for roiling out the tax is April 1, 2017. The states and the Centre have locked horns over the GST rate. While the states are pushing for 22 per cent, the Union wants it to be 20 per cent, to check inflationary pressures and ensure compliance.

Also, the states want sole administrative control over assessment, scrutiny and enforcement over entities with annual turnovers of Rs 1.5 crore or less, and dual control after that. The Centre wants dual control right through.

Together, the states have two-third voting right. So, the Centre has the power (one-third votes) to reject any proposal, as the council can pass motions only with a three-fourth majority. Eleven states would have to get together to block any suggestion

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