The first meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in New Delhi on Thursday gave an indication that a host of issues remained to be resolved, even as its Chairman and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hoped all pending issues will be thrashed out in due course for a uniform pan-India indirect tax regime to take effect from the targeted date of April 1 next year.
"The GST council meet was held in true federal spirit. We received two suggestions on the threshold for exemptions," Jaitley said, referring to the firms that will eventually be exempt from the new tax regime based on their turnover. Figures of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 25 lakh are the ones doing the rounds.
At the same time, the meeting purportedly agreed to resolve all issues by the third week of November.
"Today, starting from September 22, we have roughly two months time till November 22 to resolve all the outstanding issues. Therefore, a draft timetable has been given, which also have been adopted," Jaitley said.
Chairing the meeting, the finance minister said the issue of threshold limit in terms of turnover to exempt smaller firms from the system, and the actual rates of taxes on various commodities, needed to be reconciled.
The central minister hoped to find a convergence on the threshold issue for GST exemption by Friday.
"We have converged to those two different views. We will continue tomorrow... so that we are able to converge to one particular figure as far as the exemptions are concerned," Jaitley said.
On the issues of his deputy at the council, the GST Chairman said: "Will elect the Vice Chairman at a subsequent date. The appointment for the Vice Chairman can be done unanimously or by voting."
The chairman of the Empowered Committee on Goods and Services Tax, chaired by West Bengal Finance Minister Amil Mitra, was widely expected to be chosen as the vice chairman. But this could not be taken on Thursday since his state is yet to endorse the relevant Constitution amendment bill.
The central government is trying to resolve all outstanding issues over the uniform pan-India indirect tax regime during the two-day meet. The deadline for GST's implementation is on April 1, 2017.
The minister admitted that the target roll-out of GST will depend on the passage of the Central GST (Central GST) and the Integrated and GST (IGST) bills in Parliament and the respective State GST bills by each state.