Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Apr 14, 2005
Industry & Economy - Taxation
VAT panel to meet on April 16 to review progress
New Delhi , April 13
THE Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on value-added tax would meet here on Saturday to discuss and review the "implementation issues" surrounding the introduction of State-level VAT from April 1.
The meeting assumes significance, as it would be for the first time that State finance ministers would come together to review the situation after the introduction of VAT in 20 States. VAT commissioners of various States would meet on April 15 to discuss various operational issues on VAT implementation. "There are implementation issues that need further discussion. It is for this reason that State finance ministers would meet on April 16. We had originally planned for a meeting in May," Mr Ramesh Chandra, Member-Secretary of the Empowered Committee, said here today.
He was addressing a national conference on `State VAT for a Common Indian Market Issues and Challenges' organised jointly by Assocham and PHDCCI.
Mr Chandra later told newspersons that the finance ministers of those States that had not implemented VAT would also participate in the VAT panel meeting. Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and the five BJP-ruled States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are yet to implement VAT.
While pointing out that any new system would have "teething problems", Mr Chandra said that it was the responsibility of every stakeholder to make a success of VAT. "I hope we would be able to sort out all issues within a month," he said.
He also came down heavily on the section of society that opposed the implementation of VAT. "We have people changing sides at the drop of a hat to ensure that VAT is not implemented. There has been enormous political lobbying and money lobbying to see to it that VAT was not implemented from April 1. We have still gone ahead with VAT implementation," Mr Chandra said.
He also told reporters on the sidelines of the conference that the Empowered Committee was in touch with those States that are yet to implement VAT.
On the controversial issue of VAT on supplies of canteen stores department, Mr Chandra held that it was up to the Finance and Defence Ministries to come up with alternative form of providing concessions to these canteens.
Traders present at the conference complained that there were a number of products that attracted different rates in different States.
They apprehended that the absence of uniformity in rates could lead to trade diversion, especially in some of the northern States.
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