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Introduction(Empowered Committee of State Government)
The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers (EC) was originally set up on 17th July, 2000 by the Government of India with the Hon’ble State Finance Ministers of West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Meghalaya as members with an objective to monitor the implementation of uniform floor rates of sales tax by States and Union territories, to monitor the phasing out of the sales-tax based incentive schemes, to decide milestones and methods of States to switch over to VAT and to monitor reforms in the Central Sales Tax system existing in the country. Subsequently, Hon’ble State Finance Ministers of Assam, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Rajasthan were also notified as the members of the Empowered Committee. On 12th August, 2004, the Government of India decided to reconstitute the Empowered committee with Hon’ble State Finance/Taxation Ministers of all States as its members.
The body was later registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860). The registration certificate was issued on August 17, 2004. At present, Dr. Asim K. Dasgupta, Hon’ble Finance Minister, Government of West Bengal is the Chairman of the Empowered Committee and all the Ministers, in charge of Finance/Taxation of all State Governments and Union Territories with legislatures, Additional Secretary (Revenue), Government of India and Member Secretary, Empowered Committee are the members of the Empowered Committee. The Empowered Committee has its office in Delhi Sachivalaya, I.P. Estate, New Delhi where Government of NCT of Delhi has provided accommodation and other facilities. The Society has been receiving contribution from the State Government and Government of India to meet its administrative expenditure and undertake various other activities.
Recently, in order to strengthen the EC, Thirteenth Finance Commission recommended that a grant of Rs 30.00 crore be made to EC, so that they can pursue GST related research work and enhance capacities. Amount of Rs 30 crore has accordingly been released to EC for creating a corpus of for this purpose.