MP Assembly ratifies GST Bill

Bhopal : The Madhya Pradesh Assembly today unanimously ratified the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment Bill, which was passed by both Houses of Parliament recently. A daylong special session of the state Assembly was convened to ratify the Constitutional (122nd Amendment) Bill. Considered as one of the biggest tax reform in the country, the GST Bill needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the President can notify the GST Council, which will decide the new tax rate and other issues. “The Bill will help in achieving economic integration of the country. It has been the result of discussion for years and all political parties contributed to it. It is hearty to see that everyone unites when it comes to issues of national interest,” said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during a discussion on the Bill. “In 2000, the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime had set up an empowered committee to streamline the GST model. Subsequently, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then finance ministers Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram contributed in designing the roadmap,” he said. Mr Chouhan made it clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government had not opposed to the Bill during the rule of then United Progressive Alliance dispensation at the Centre. “The regime had then opposed to only certain provisions such as clarity over revenue loss caused by the GST’s implementation. The present National Democratic Alliance Government has made provision for compensating the loss incurred by states for five years,” he said. The Chief Minister pointed out that tax rate would come down following the GST’s implementation and the need would be to widen the tax base. He said the GST Bill would make doing business and investment easier and curb corruption. Initiating the discussion, Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya said the Bill would help in developing integrated markets by ending tax variation across the country. Besides, tax evasion and revenue loss caused by e-commerce will be put into check. The Bill would be particularly beneficial for Madhya Pradesh, as it is a consumer state. Deputy Assembly Speaker Rajendra Kumar Singh lamented that the GST Bill had to pass through a 10-year-long journey due to opposition faced by it from time to time and has still some way to go before finding light of the day. He pointed out that the Bill does not provide for the GST Council’s recommendations to be binding on states. He demanded that the Council be provided constitutional status and its recommendations be made mandatory for states – in whose absence, he felt, it would be rendered toothless. Mr Malaiya assured that a mechanism would be developed to ensure that states follow the GST’s recommendations. Leader of the Opposition Bala Bachchan and several BJP and Congress members also took part in the discussion.

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