Jaitley to meet state ministers today to push GST bill

New Delhi, July 26 : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will on Tuesday meet his counterparts in states to discuss the proposed amendments to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill that has been passed by the Lok Sabha but is stuck in the Rajya Sabha.

The proposed tax reform, the biggest since India's independence 1947, seeks to replace a slew of central taxes and levies in its 29 states, transforming the nation of 1.3 billion people into a customs union.

Jaitley met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the weekend and has been earlier meeting the leaders of the Congress Party to garner support for the proposed GST) Bill.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi earlier on Friday told the Rajya Sabha that the GST Bill will come up for discussion next week.

The GST was first mooted by the Congress-led UPA government. It has been already passed in the Lok Sabha but is pending in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP-led NDA government lacks a majority.

The Congress has been demanding that the overall GST rate be capped at 18 per cent, as well as scrapping of an additional one per cent tax to compensate manufacturing states.

Following a meeting of the state finance ministers in Kolkata last month, Jaitley announced that every state had either supported or accepted the proposed GST, except Tamil Nadu which expressed its reservations and offered suggestions.