NEW DELHI: The April 1 deadline for rolling out Goods and Services Tax (GST) will not be met “even if the trinity of Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh – descend on earth”, as the government has not yet completed the preparatory work for the new indirect tax regime, Congress leader Anand Sharma said.
“Even if the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition have a duet together and all of us work overtime, the so called April 1 (2016 deadline) cannot be achieved,” he said at the industry body FICCI’s AGM.
“In our methodology we talk about Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Even if the three (Gods) come together, (we require) 50 per cent states ratification, three more laws (State GST, Centre GST and IGST) to be enacted,” he added.
The Constitution Amendment bill to roll out Goods and Services Tax is stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority.
Being touted as the most comprehensive reform of indirect taxes since the Independence, GST will subsume most of the levies including central excise, service tax and sales tax.
The bill is being opposed by Congress although many other opposition parties are on board.
Mr Sharma, who is Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said: “It (the Constitution amendment) will pave the way for enactment of the legislation. Even if it has to pass tomorrow it has to be ratified by 50 per cent state assemblies. Then the real bills will come. Three legislation are to be enacted (for GST)–Centre GST, State GST and Inter-state GST.”
The government is not ready with the three bills which would have to be passed by Centre and state before GST roll out in the entire country, he said.
He accused the government of trying to “trying shift (focus from) bad management of Indian economy to just one GST bill.
Mr Sharma said, “We have been the real authors of GST and we have put across some very genuine concerns. The Opposition is ready to debate with the Government on this. The country will have a GST and there is no doubt about that.”
He said that at this juncture there is a need for policies that reflect continuity, predictability and stability, which at present is being threatened.
“Merely rebranding and repackaging of policies would not help the economy which at present is sputtering,” he added.
The present government, Mr Sharma said, needs to decentralise and delegate in order to meet its claim of improving the governance situation.