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PM Modi to flag GST at Inter-State Council meeting

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today chair the 11th meeting of Inter-State Council in the national capital .

The Union Ministers and the country’s 31 Chief Ministers are expected to attend the meeting.

The meeting assumes significance in wake of the BJP-led NDA regime’s efforts to ensure the passage of the Good and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning Monday.

It will be interesting to note whether the Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states voice their support for the long-pending bill as the government has reached out to the grand old party for passage of the GST in the Rajya Sabha where it does not have a majority.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi is likely to seek the Chief Ministers’ feedback and support for the GST.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier had a number of rounds of discussions with the Chief Ministers of various states with regard to the GST.

The proposed tax reform, India’s biggest revenue shake-up since independence, seeks to replace a slew of federal and state levies, transforming the nation into a Customs Union.

The Congress Party, the original author of the tax reform, has said that it would back the GST if the government agreed to cap the tax rate at 18 percent and create an independent mechanism to resolve disputes on revenue sharing between the states.

Besides, the NDA regime is also expected to face the ire of the opposition courtesy the recent Supreme Court ruling on Arunachal Pradesh during the meeting.

The government faced political embarrassment when the apex court restored the Congress government headed by Nabam Tuki. The apex court quashed all the decisions of Governor J.P. Rajkhowa, calling his actions ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.

Prime Minister Modi will also have a direct contact with his bete noire and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has been critical of the ruling dispensation and has even dragged the government to court.

The Supreme Court had on July 8 refused to entertain the AAP Government’s plea that the High Court be asked to first decide the preliminary issue as to whether it has the jurisdiction over disputes between the Centre and the state or is it “exclusively” triable by the top court.

The Delhi Government had on May 28 last year approached the High Court challenging the Centre’s notification of May 21, 2015, giving the Lieutenant Governor absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats in the city.

The issues of use of Aadhaar as an identifier and use of Direct Benefit Transfer for providing subsidies, benefits and Public services are also on the Centre’s agenda.

The last meeting of the Council was held in December 2006 in New Delhi.

The Inter-State Council, set up in 1990, brings together the Prime Minister, six of his Cabinet Ministers, and all Chief Ministers and administrators of Union Territories to discuss the coordination of schemes and policies. (ANI)

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