The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) Council and its Secretariat.

No further need of empowered committee
The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on the GST could cease to be the forum at which the discussions between the Centre and States would take place, the Centre said after announcing the creation of the Council.

The Empowered Committee is headed by Amit Mitra, Finance Minister of West Bengal, a State that is yet to ratify the constitutional amendment enabling the roll-out of the GST. 

Composition of GST Council
Each State is to nominate as a voting member a minister, who may or may not be holding the finance or the taxation portfolios. The Centre will have two representatives on the Council: the Union Finance Minister will chair it and Union Minister of State in-charge of Revenue, will be a member.

About GST Council Secretariat 
1. The office of GST Council Secretariat will be located at New Delhi.

2. The Secretariat will have the officials — Additional Secretary to the Council and four posts of Commissioner at the level of Joint Secretary to the Centre —the Centre was open to State officials being deputed for these posts.

3. The appointments approved include that of the Union Revenue Secretary as the ex-officio secretary to the Council and the inclusion of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairperson as a permanent and non-voting invitee to all of its proceedings.

4. The Cabinet also decided to provide adequate funds for meeting the recurring and non-recurring expenses of the Secretariat. The entire cost is being borne by the Centre.