Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sharing information on PM's GST meet will affect India's economic interests: RTI reply

Economic Times: New Delhi: Thursday, June 29, 2017.
NEW DELHI: Sharing of details of a meeting on Goods and Services Tax(GST) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will affect the country's "economic interest", the Prime Minister's Office(PMO) said, rejecting a RTI plea on the subject.
The response by the PMO invoking an exemption clause came on an application under the Right to Information Act (RTI) seeking from it minutes of the meeting held on GST under the chairmanship of the prime minister on June 5.
The meeting was attended by secretaries of central government departments and other officers concerned.
"Since the request of the applicant is related to the economic interest of the State, the same is exempted from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act," the PMO said in its reply to the RTI query filed by Ashwini Shrivastava.
The section bars "information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence."
The GST, termed as the biggest tax reform, is to be rolled out from July 1
A PMO statement issued after the meeting had quoted Modi as saying: "The advent of the GST on July 1 marks a turning point in the country's history."
He asked the secretaries to proactively prepare for this transformation to ensure a smooth transition, it had said.
"The prime minister said the world is looking at India differently today, and this is a unique opportunity which should not be missed. Let us build mechanisms to meet global expectations, he asked the secretaries," the statement had said.
Another release issued by the PMO on June 5 had said the prime minister reviewed the status of the GST.
"The meeting, which lasted over two­and­a­half hours, was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and top­most officials from the Ministry of Finance, the PMO and the Cabinet Secretary," it had said.