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GST not possible from April 2012: Govt
The government is scheduled to table the GST Constitution Amendment Bill during the current session of Parliament for consideration.

With several states disagreeing with proposed GST provisions, the government on Monday said it may not be possible to roll out the new indirect tax regime from April 2012.

"It (GST) probably could not come along with the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) on April 1, 2012," Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra told reporters at the customary post-Budget press conference here.

The Centre and the states are engaged in talks over the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) for about four years. The government is scheduled to table the GST Constitution Amendment Bill during the current session of Parliament for consideration.

"The first significant step in that (GST) direction would be the Constitution Amendment Bill," Mitra said.

He said as per the government's estimates, after introduction of the Constitution Amendment Bill in the ongoing Budget Session, the Bill would go to a parliamentary standing committee.

"(It) is unlikely that we will be able to get their (standing Committee) views before the Winter Session. It could then probably be introduced, if there is not enough time in Winter Session, it could perhaps be introduced in the Budget Session next year," he added.

Since 2007, the government has been trying to introduce the new tax regime, under which GST will subsume most of the indirect taxes of the Centre and the states.

The GST rollout has already missed the implementation timeline of April 1, 2010, and it is unlikely to be introduced from the coming April 1, the start of the financial year 2011-12.

Talking about the Budget presented in Parliament on Monday, Finance Secretary Sushma Nath said the thrust of the Budget was on reforms, including simplification of tax collection.

On the Centre's proposal on direct cash transfer of subsidies, Nath said the idea behind it is to ensure that it reaches the targetted beneficiaries and siphoning off could be checked.

She also said domestic consumers of cooking gas would continue to get LPG cylinders as per the subsidy scheme of the government.

To a query on spectrum allocation in the next fiscal, the Finance Secretary said a group of ministers would take a decision on it.

The Finance Ministry further said tax exemptions under 10 A and 10B of Income Tax Act would be investment linked and effort is to align them with the DTC scheduled to come into effect from April 2012.

Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu, who was also present on the occasion, said the year end inflation is likely to come down to 7 per cent. The headline inflation was 8.23 per cent in January.
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