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'April 1, 2017 target for GST tough'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 Aug 2016 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, Aug 4: The government on Thursday said April 1 next year will be the target date for the roll-out of a pan-India Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime though Fince Minister Arun Jaitley termed it as a difficult task to achieve, given the future steps involved.

The states have also been asked to ratify the GST bill within 30 days of the President’s assent to the landmark legislation.

“The GST roll-out deadline of April 1, 2017, is certainly stiff. But it’s still better to have a deadline,” the Fince Minister told reporters at a briefing here, a day after the Rajya Sabha passed the relevant Constitution amendment bill unimously.

“But we will try to be reasobly quick and hope to meet the target.”

Jaitley’s remarks came after Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia made a presentation before the media here, explaining the roadmap to implement the GST, while also spelling out the target date for its launch.

He said that by the Winter Session of Parliament the government hoped to get all the requisite bills connected with the GST roll-out passed, adding: “By December 2016, all the back-end and front-end IT systems required for GST are also expected to be ready, followed by testing.”

He said 60,000 officers will be trained and outreach programme launched for trade and industry.

With half the states required to ratify what technically will be the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Act, 2014, the Revenue Secretary said at least 16 of them need to give assent. The Bharatiya Jata Party and its allies are in power in 13 states.

Fince Minister Jaitley said once the GST rolls out, doing business in India will be easier and help a large body of traders and citizens. “There was a public anxiety, almost an exasperation, over the delay,” he said. “That’s now over,” he added.

“One of the most significant aspects is that the GST bill was passed with unimity.” (IANS)

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