Committing to implement GST, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today said if his party comes to power, it will take states into confidence before pushing the long delayed new indirect tax regime.

“BJP from the very first day is in favour of GST (Goods and Services Tax). GST is needed. We are in favour of GST. We need to prepare for it in advance,” he said in an interview to television channel CNBC Awaaz.

Modi, however, clarified that the GST, which seeks to subsume various levies like excise and service tax, would be implemented after taking into confidence the views of the states.

Modi said efforts should be made to ensure that states do not suffer revenue loss after implementation of GST.

“When Pranab Mukherjee was Finance Minister I had a detailed discussion with him. The success of GST depends not merely on what law we bring in Parliament but how much we strengthen the information technology. Unless and until you bring the IT network, GST is impossible.

“Till date the government of India has not been able to do it. Centre needs to work in partnership with states. Centre should not differentiate between small and large states. If a law results in loss of state, it won’t work. States should be taken into confidence. It was their (UPA government) responsibility, they did not do it, we will do it,” he added.

The BJP manifesto too had talked about implementation of the GST by “bringing on board all state governments in adopting the GST, addressing all their concerns.”

The GST has been pending since 2010 for want of consensus among the states.

Replying to questions on FDI, Modi said the whole issue should be seen in the context of encouraging domestic manufacturing sector, which is essential for creating employment opportunities.

The BJP is opposed to FDI in multi brand retail, but favours it in those sectors “wherever needed for job and asset creation, infrastructure and acquisition of niche technology and specialisation,” he said.

(This article was published on April 18, 2014)
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