New Delhi: Major changes are in the offing in the Goods and Services Tax. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held an hour-long meeting with BJP President Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, where he took a call on the economic slowdown and the business community’s outcry over GST harassment.
He wanted Jaitley to push for immediate reliefs in the GST in the pre-scheduled GST Council meeting in Vigyan Bhawan on Friday, PMO sources said. They said the PM wants the GST council to immediately change the provisions that go against his government’s policy of “ease of business.”
Jaitley is the chairman of the council and the state finance ministers are its members. The Constitution amendment that facilitated the new national tax mandates tweaking of the GST only by this council.
Though TV channels were agog with expectations of some major announcement after the meeting on Thursday, the sources said the Centre cannot take any unitary decision on GST as the law requires it to get it approved by the council and so any changes are possible only on Friday after the council meets.
Only on Wednesday, the Prime Minister had promised to remove hurdles faced by the small traders due to GST, the new national tax, and take steps to reverse the current economic slowdown, while asserting he will not give up the long-range goals just because of some pessimism regarding the data of the previous quarter.
Shah cancelled his walk through Kerala Chief Minister’s village on Thursday morning on the PM’s reported call to meet him immediately. Though the trio primarily discussed the GST, so that Jaitley can carry specific guidelines to the GST Council for an immediate decision on Friday, the meeting also took stock of the preparations for the Gujarat Assembly elections due in December
Jaitley has been made the Gujarat poll in-charge.
PM and Amit Shah were closeted for some time after Jaitley left the meeting and sources said they also discussed the organisational changes in the party that are overdue.