Pre-Budget talks: FM to meet state counterparts

New Delhi :Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will meet his state counterparts tomorrow as part of pre-budget consultation process.
The minister, according to sources, may also discuss the preparatory work for roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), though currently the Constitution Amendment Bill for GST is stuck in Rajya Sabha.

During the meeting the state Finance Ministers are likely to pitch for more funds, flexibility to spend money under centrally sponsored schemes and greater transparency and non discretionary allocation of funds.

Issues concerning implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations are also likely to figure during the meeting with the states.

The 14th Finance Commission had last year recommended a record 10 per cent increase in the states’ share in the Union taxes to 42 per cent, which has been accepted by the Centre. However, certain states raised concerns about its implementation.

As regards GST, the Centre is hopeful of getting it approved in the ensuing Budget session of Parliament beginning February 23.

However, the Congress party, which is vehemently opposing the bill, is yet to come on board. The Constitution Amendment Bill has been approved by the Lok Sabha but is yet to get the green signal from the Rajya Sabha when the ruling NDA does not have a majority.

GST would usher in a new indirect tax regime which would subsume levies such as excise, service and local taxes.

As part of the pre-budget consultative process, Jaitley had earlier held meetings with various stakeholders including industry chambers, economists, trade unions and financial institutions.