The new panel under Parthasarathi Shome, director of Delhi-based think tank Icrier, has been tasked with not just finalizing the guidelines by September, but even holding consultations — a task that was given to a committee comprising representatives from the revenue department, foreign institutional investors and tax experts set up by former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. In UPA-1, Shome was adviser to P Chidambaram, who is widely tipped to return as finance minister.
The announcement took the tax department by surprise with officials saying they learned about the move only from the official statement.
This is the second time in the last fortnight the PMO has stepped in on GAAR. When the draft rules were released by the finance ministry, Singh’s office issued a statement distancing itself from the finance ministrydriven initiative and said the PM would take a final call. But Friday’s statement did not fail to point out that the draft guidelines were released on the website “at PM’s behest”, a signal that the government was keen to restore investor confidence.
Apart from Shome, the expert committee will comprise former insurance regulator N Rangachary, NIPFP professor Ajay Shah and Sunil Gupta, joint secretary in the revenue department.