The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) feels that introduction of the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a high priority area for the country to improve its economic growth and gross domestic product (GDP). It will also exert pressure on the States opposing it to agree to its implementation.

With the CII concluding that accelerated economic growth is vital in the present circumstances, its new President, S. Gopalakrishnan, on Friday stressed that reforms like implementation of the GST was a must.

“It is high priority area. If GST comes into force, it will add at least 1.2 per cent to the GDP. We have met several chief ministers and we are hopeful to convince them,” he told reporters here.

Gopalakrishnan, who is Co-Chairman of Infosys, was here to attend the launch function of the Ahmedabad edition of The Hindu Business Line. Asked specifically about Gujarat, which has been opposing implementation of GST like all the non-UPA governments in the States, he said the issue had been taken up with Gujarat as well. When queried if the State Government was willing to listen, Gopalakrishnan said, “Gujarat is willing to listen and we are discussing with them.”

The GST is a reforms initiative that seeks to replace all indirect taxes levied on goods and services by the Centre and States and make it comprehensive for most goods and services. Some of the States have been resisting it on the ground that it would infringe on their financial autonomy.

The CII president said with moderation of inflation rates, check on fiscal deficit and positive outlook on current account deficit suggest that a growth percentage of around 6.2 per cent was achievable in 2013-14.

Lagging in IT

The CII and the Gujarat Government on Friday began discussions to set up a task force to reverse the brain-drain in the information technology sector from Gujarat to other states.

Conceding that Gujarat lagged behind in the IT sector, Gopalakrishnan said this was because Gujarat could not retain the talent. The reasons could be many, including the fact that they found Gujarat lacking in the cosmopolitan culture of bigger metros, he said. “Today, if you ask any IT professional about his choice of workplace, he would say Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai or Mumbai,” he said, quickly adding that at the same time Gujarat’s achievement in the agricultural and other sectors should not be forgotten.