Centre defers state FMs study tour to China, Russia

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The Narendra Modi government has put on hold the proposal of the Empowered Committee of state FMs on GST to visit China and Russia on a 16-day study tour.

This was the seventh overseas visit planned by the Empowered Committee to study the structure of Goods and Services Tax (GST) since 2006.

The government, which has imposed restrictions on overseas visits by officials and senior government functionaries, has deferred the proposed tour, sources said.

The Committee had proposed to visit Russia and China between August 20 and September 4.

So far, the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers has undertaken six foreign visits and has travelled to several countries including England, Canada, Italy, Australia, France, Singapore, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, Japan and South Africa.

The last time the Committee members went on a 12 day tour to South Africa on July 24-August 4, 2013.

However, the Constitutional Amendment Bill, prepared by the previous UPA government in 2011 to pave way for rolling out GST, is yet to see the light of the day.

The GST will subsume indirect taxes like excise duty and service tax at the central level and VAT on the states front, besides local levies.

Committing to expeditious roll out of GST, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in Budget speech said a solution to the issues relating to the comprehensive indirect tax regime may be finalised in the current year itself.

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