Pranab Mukherjee, who proposed GAAR as Finance Minister in March, on Saturday said he had deferred its implementation for further discussions and that the Prime Minister’s decision to set up a panel on the issue is continuation of the process.
“GAAR, I also deferred it by one year for having further discussions. It (the new panel) can be treated as a continuing affair...,” Mr. Mukherjee, the UPA’s Presidential candidate, told reporters in an informal meeting at his residence.
He was responding to a query on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s setting up a new committee to prepare fresh norms on GAAR to bring “greater clarity”.
The new four-member panel, to be headed by taxation expert Parthasarathi Shome, is to prepare a roadmap on GAAR by September 30.
The setting up of the committee, announced on Friday, came within a fortnight of the Finance Ministry issuing draft guidelines on GAAR.
Mr. Mukherjee proposed GAAR, aimed at checking tax evasion, in the 2012-13 Budget, but deferred its implementation by one year amid widespread concerns from investors.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mukherjee said the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would take “appropriate” decision on appointment of the new Finance Minister at the right time.
“I think he (the Prime Minister) will make appropriate decision at the right moment...I don’t know exactly,” he said.
The Prime Minister is holding the finance portfolio after Mr. Mukherjee resigned from the post to contest the presidential poll. Dr. Singh is being assisted by two ministers of state Namo Narayan Meena and S S Palanimanickam.
When asked to compare his tenure as Finance Minister with that of P Chidambaram (now Home Minister) or Singh’s period in the ministry, Mr. Mukherjee said ,”This type of comparison you people (media) will be doing...because it is too near and this should be done with some sort of objectivity, not possible for me.”