Government plans to create unified national market

The Economic Times, November 12, 2014
The Narendra Modi government is preparing a plan to create a unified market in India by setting up a permanent authority that will take the concept through to implementation, in tandem with the long-awaited goods and services tax (GST), which is a top priority for the administration.

A Cabinet note on the creation of a national common market commission under Article 307 of the constitution is expected to be drafted soon, a senior government official aware of deliberations told ET.

This body will deal with intra- and inter-state issues related to freedom of trade and commerce, the person said. Along with GST, the authority will help break down state and district boundaries for the seamless delivery of goods and services across the country, though the primary focus is on movement of food and vegetables.

The government is keen to spell out a timetable for GST implementation soon with the budget giving concrete signals such as the elimination of central sales tax levied on inter-state sales. Efforts are on to persuade states to agree to the earliest possible implementation date for GST, apart from readying legislation that’s needed as part of this initiative. “Free movement of goods and services within the country is important,” said the official cited above.

“Discussions have begun and a cabinet note would be floated once the contours are frozen.” The department of consumer affairs had pitched for the creation of a common market commission at a meeting of the inter-ministerial group on consumer advocacy. Industry said the move would amount to a significant reform.
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