1. The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers was originally set up on 17th July, 2000 by the Government of India with the Hon’ble State Finance Ministers of West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Meghalaya as members with an objective to monitor the implementation of uniform floor rates of sales tax by States and Union Territories, to monitor the phasing out of the sales-tax based incentive schemes, to decide milestones and methods of States to switch over to VAT and to monitor reforms in the Central Sales Tax system existing in the country. Subsequently, Hon’ble State Finance Ministers of Assam, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Rajasthan were also notified as the members of the Empowered Committee. On 12th August, 2004 the Government of India decided to reconstitute the Empowered Committee with all the Hon’ble State Finance/Taxation Ministers as its members.
2. Later on, it was decided to register the body as a Society under the Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860). The registration certificate was issued on August 17, 2004. All the Ministers in charge of Finance/Taxation of all State Governments and Union Territories with legislatures, Additional Secretary (Revenue), Government of India and Member Secretary, Empowered Committee are the members of the Empowered Committee. The Empowered Committee has its office in Delhi Sachivalya, I.P. Estate, New Delhi where Government of NCT of Delhi has kindly provided accommodation and other facilities. The Society has been receiving contributions from the State Governments and Government of India to meet its administrative expenditure and undertake various other activities.
3. The Empowered Committee has been meeting regularly. It is attended by the State Finance Ministers, Finance Secretaries and Commissioners of Commercial Taxes of the State Governments as well as senior officers of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. During 2010-11, the Empowered Committee met eight times. The Annual General Meeting of the Empowered Committee was held on 28.11.2011.
Empowered Committee Secretariat
4. Shri Satish Chandra, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary to the Government of India continued as Member Secretary, Empowered Committee during the year.
5. To strengthen the staff of the Empowered Committee, one senior level officer, Smt. Ujjaini Datta was deputed by the Government of West Bengal from Sales Tax Department to work in the Empowered Committee Secretariat. She has been designated as Officer on Special Duty and is looking after the work related to the implementation of VAT, phasing out of CST, introduction of GST, compilation and analyzing revenue figures and all other technical matters. Shri V.P. Gupta, Senior Administrative Officer, Dr. Pooja Joshi, part- time Finance Officer and Shri Kishori Lal, Principal Private Secretary continued in the same capacity during the year. Shri V.K. Malhotra also joined the Empowered Committee as Administrative Officer, last year.