VATs Up: PC Buzzes State FMs; PM Invites Montek

New Delhi, June 16 | Updated: Jun 17 2004, 05:30am hrs
Finance minister P Chidam-baram may give a sneak preview of his plans for efficiency of trade and business via value added tax (VAT) on Friday. The FM will speak at the extended meeting of all state finance ministers in the country. The meeting has been convened by FinMin.

Speaking on the importance of Fridays conclave, Mahesh C Purohit, VAT expert and former member-secretary of the empowered committee, said, I see a very important meeting leading to the introduction of state VAT in the country...I hope the FM will be able to make an announcement on the reduction of central sales tax (CST), allocation of services to the states and notify the date on the introduction of VAT on additional excise duty items.

This meeting should be bringing out Chidambarams road map and chart a time path, said Purohit, now with the Foundation for Public Economics and Policy Research.

Besides the Centres role on CST, compensating states, giving away of services and notifying additional VAT on tobacco, textiles and sugar, the FM is expected to address issues of capacity-building in states and information campaigns that make VAT acceptable to tax-payers.

CPM leader and West Bengal FM Ashim Dasgupta is the convenor of the empowered committee on VAT.

Besides the meeting on VAT, Friday promises to be fiery for FinMin and trend-spotters on the forthcoming Budget. The compulsions of the coalition dharma may emerge from a separate meeting between Chidambaram and the monitors of the United Progressive Alliance.

Team Yojana Bhawan
Our Policy Bureau

New Delhi, June 16: Former finance secretary Montek Singh Ahluw-alia has been appoin-ted deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. The other members of the Commission are Dr Kirit Parikh, Dr Abhijit Sen, Dr V L Chopra, Dr Bhalchandra L Mungekar, Ms Syeda Hamida, Mr B N Yugandhar and Mr Anwarul Hoda.

Mr Ahluwalia, is currently working as director, Independent Evaluation Office, International Mone-tary Fund. Prior to joining the IMF in July 1999, Mr Ahluwalia was a member of the Planning Commission. He was also part of the core team which initiated economic reforms in 1991 under the leadership of the then finance minister and presently Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Dr Parikh is a former vice-chancellor (VC) of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Dr Sen, former chairman of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices, Dr Chopra, former director general of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Dr Mungekar, VC, Mumbai University, Ms Hamida, member, National Commission for Women, Mr Yugandhar, director, Lal Bhadur Shastri Academy and former rural development secretary, Mr Hoda, professor, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (Icrier) and former deputy director general, World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mr Ahluwalia was recently in India enroute to Beijing. He had a meeting with Dr Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram.

Mr Ahluwalias previous assignments include secretary, department of economic affairs; commerce secretary; special secretary to the prime minister; and economic adviser, ministry of finance. He was also a member of the economic advisory council to the prime minister.