New Delhi: In order to insulate the domestic economy from the global downturn and to escalate the pace of economic growth, the corporate world has suggested the Central Government to implement the Goods and Service Tax (GST) at the earliest.

The meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, scheduled to be held on Friday, is slated to discuss ways to take forward the proposed tax regime, which will replace all of the existing indirect taxes.

The Committee members will also hold a meeting with Union Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee.

On the eve of the important meeting, a group of industrialists met Committee Chairman and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

FICCI chairman Harsh Maribala said, “Implementation of the GST will be beneficial for states. This will make Indian economy more competitive at the international as well as the domestic level.”

The proposed tax regime will increase the growth of Gross Domestic Productivity (GDP) by a range of 0.9 to 1.7 percent.

“The proposed rates of 20 percent, 16 percent and 12 percent are good enough to begin with, but these would need to be gradually brought down to a uniform level of 12 percent,” FICCI President Harsh Mariwala told reporters here adding, “Asia-Pacific countries have the average GST rate of 10.8 percent. India should also try to achieve this target.”

It is worth mentioning that the Centre has announced to implement the GST by April 2012. However, the Centre and the state governments have to pass the Bill in the Parliament and state legislatures respectively in order to make it effective.

Several state governments, especially those ruled by the NDA have been opposing the proposed tax regime.