Goods and services tax to be in place by 2014: Prime Minister

Source: Times of India via Indian Economic Business News

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said recently that the much-awaited goods and services tax (GST) will become a reality by 2014 regardless of who forms the government after the next Lok Sabha elections, even as he counseled the foreign investors to come to terms with problems that India poses as an investment destination. Mr. Singh was responding to Hiromasa Yonekura, Chairman of Japan India Business Leadership Form, who told the PM that differences in tax regimes of each state and the complicated tax structure were big obstacles for investments in India. While saying that it was India’s objective to move towards a goods and services tax, the PM said: “But India is a federation and in federation there are difficulties of getting all the states to agree and surrender their tax power in favour of the GST. But I am confident that we will overcome that hurdle.” He also suggested that the opposition to GST was for political reasons which will melt once the 2014 elections are out of the way. However, Singh tempered his pitch for Japanese investments by advising potential business partners to adjust to Indian reality. He sympathized with the demand of Japanese and other foreign bankers that they be allowed to open more branches in metropolitan centres.