India govt says difficult to predict timeline for passage of GST bill

Junior finance minister Jayant Sinha said the rollout of the new tax was contingent on the passage of the bill.
Junior finance minister Jayant Sinha said the rollout of the new tax was contingent on the passage of the bill.PHOTO: EPA

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - The Indian government said it was difficult to predict a timeline for the passage of a bill that seeks to harmonise state taxes after lawmakers failed to vote on the measure in the parliament session that ended on Wednesday (Dec 23).

Junior finance minister Jayant Sinha said the rollout of the new tax was contingent on the passage of the bill.

"We will have to see how the legislative calendar develops,"he said. "It's very hard to predict how soon that will happen."

The proposed goods and services tax (GST) is aimed at launching the biggest revenue shake-up in decades as it seeks to replace a slew of federal and state levies, converting the nation of 1.2 billion people into a customs union.

But for want to political support, the bill has been languishing in parliament since last December.