NEW DELHI 15/Dec/2014: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will hold discussions with state finance ministers over the next two days in a determined bid to seal a deal on goods & services tax ( GST) that his ministry officials said is as close as it has ever been. The Modi government wants to ensure this key element of its economic reforms agenda can be put in place by April 1, 2016, as part of efforts to speed up growth. The fiscal room created by the crash in crude oil prices has given Jaitley space to walk the extra mile in his bid to assure states they will not lose any revenue once the single levy is imposed, replacing a plethora of indirect taxes imposed by the Centre and states. \"Most states are on board. Just a couple have concerns and the minister will address those in meetings over Monday and Tuesday,\" a senior finance ministry official told ET.
With crude down to $60 per barrel, the finance ministry will make a big saving in fuel subsidies that were pegged at Rs 63,427 crore in FY14. These savings could be used to compensate states once the tax is rolled out. The reform measure, which could add as much two percentage points to the country\'s GDP growth according to some estimates, has been stuck for almost five years because of the reluctance of states that fear losing both revenue and fiscal powers. The original rollout date was April 1, 2010. The government is resolved to build a consensus on this measure by accommodating concerns of states but won\'t let recalcitrance of a handful in case there are any holdouts, particularly over political considerations derail process.