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Will reach out to industry from April 1 on GST awareness: FM Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the government was ready for implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and will begin reaching out to the industry from April 1 to make them aware of the new tax regime. Jaitley however did not spell out the likely date for implementation of the new indirect taxregime. "GST Council has finalised recommendations on all issues, the preparedness of IT is on schedule. On April 1, the reaching out to the industry will begin to make them aware of the new tax system, as per schedule," the Finance Minister said while presenting the Union Budget 2017-18 in the Lok Sabha. "Preparatory work on GST is top priority of the government. Several teams of the Centre and states are working towards it," he added. He said he was not making too many changes in the excise and customs as they will be soon replaced by GST. He further said the implementation of GST will bring in increased revenues to the Centre and states and spur competitiveness. The GST Council held nine meetings to discuss the tax rate, threshold exemptions, compensation to the states, draft laws and administrative mechanism, among others. The Finance Minister had earlier said that July 1, 2017, appeared to be a realistic option for implementing GST. The earlier implementation date was April 1, which is fairly out of the question after the GST Council resolved all its issues only by January 16 this year. The Centre and the states agreed on a formula to resolve the issue of cross-empowerment and dual control under the Goods and Services Tax regime.

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