Finance minister Arun Jaitley is looking for an early implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) that would replace a number of indirect taxes being levied by the central and state governments and open up a national market for goods and services.
Jaitley has asked the revenue department for a separate presentation on the proposed tax reform. He has also expressed his desire to hold an early meeting with state finance ministers on GST.
Tax officials are expected to make a presentation on the ambitious reform of the indirect tax regime today.
The GST that was to be launched from 1 January 2010 got stalled over the issue of compensation to states for losses from the new regime and loss of fiscal autonomy. The BJP proposes to address the concerns of states so as to roll out the GST.
The GST will save both industry and the consumer from the cascading effects of various levies and provide a common national market for goods and services, faced stiff opposition, mainly from BJP-ruled states such as Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, forcing the central government to defer it.
The previous government had held the opposition responsible for stalling the passage of the bill. Now, with the BJP at the centre, there is hope of early implementation of the GST regime.
The BJP manifesto promised to ''bring on board all state governments in adopting GST, addressing all their concerns''.
The previous government had brought a constitutional amendment bill to introduce the GST, but failed to get it through because of lack of consensus. Now, with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha, the Bill has lapsed and a new bill has to be tabled.
However, since the basic framework of the bill is ready, a new draft will not take much time and may not require detailed scrutiny by the standing committee unless the new government proposes major changes.
Although, the NDA is not in a majority in the Rajya Sabha, the bill is unlikely to face any hurdles as the Congress has always supported GST.
Meanwhile, the revenue department has revised downwards the estimated gross revenue collection to Rs11,59,000 crore against the earlier projection of Rs12,36,000 crore.
The decline in tax mop up is attributed to a moderation in industrial activity and the slowdown in imports.