As negotiations with states on GST enter a critical stage, the Centre is looking forward to implementation of the new indirect tax regime from April 1, 2016.
"The deadline for actual implementation of GST from April 1, 2016, would be feasible. It all depends on how quickly we are able to reach consensus on critical issues," revenue secretary Shakti Kanta Das said at an event in New Delhi.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime aims at subsuming most of the indirect taxes at the central as well as state level. The UPA government in 2011 introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha to pave the way for introduction of GST.
The GST which has been pending since 2006, is stuck at a crucial stage where states have proposed to keep products such as petroleum, tobacco and alcohol out of GST ambit and had demanded the exemption list be included in the Constitutional Amendment Bill.
As regards the compensation structure, the states have sought a five year compensation mechanism from the Centre and demanded the same be included in the Constitutional Amendment Bill.
"The discussions are at a very critical stage and we hope to make very good progress. We are quite optimistic we will be able to reach convergence in the coming weeks or months," Das added.
He said there are 4-5 issues with the states that are outstanding and on each there have been discussions in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting to take stock of the proposed new indirect tax regime and decided to soon clear the pending CST compensation for revenue loss incurred by states.
"We hope and we are quite optimistic that we will be able to resolve (it) in the coming months, which will enable the government to introduce the constitutional amendments in Parliament," Das said.