West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra was on Friday named the new chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST). Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said Mitra was elected head of the Committee at the meeting of state finance ministers today. Mitra, who couldn’t attend the meeting as he was unwell, was informed about the decision of the committee over phone by Jaitley.
Mitra succeeds Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani who had to resign in November over corruption charges. Mitra is an economist who for long was Secretary General of industry association Ficci before joining politics in 2011 and becoming a minister in the TMC government in West Bengal.
He will be the second chairman of the panel, which is tasked with framing rules for rolling out the ambitious GST regime, which will subsume all indirect taxes and create one national market, from West Bengal.
The head of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers has always been from an opposition ruled state. CPI-M’s Asim Dasgupta held the post when UPA was in power. Sushil Modi from Bihar succeeds him during the UPA regime.
In July 2013, Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather was appointed chairman after Modi quit. Mani succeeded him in March 2015. “We are hopeful that GST will be passed in Budget session (beginning next week). We are getting support from all the states present here, all parties on GST,” Sinha told reporters.