Gujarat Global News Network, Gandhinagar
The State Assembly on Tuesday to cleared the newly introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2017. The bill was cleared unanimously and will probably come in effect from July 1.
A special session of the Assembly was called for the passage of the bill. The ratification of the new bill in the State Assemblies is mandatory for rollout of the new indirect tax regime in the country. On April 6, the Parliament had passed four legislations thereby paving the way roll out GST from July.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel put a 232 page long bill in the Assembly. This is the second longest bill after 392 page Gujarat Panchayat bill moved during late Chimanbhai Patel government. Admitting that Gujarat would lose some income under GST regime because of the state’s dependence on manufacturing, he said the five-year compensation from the Centre should suffice.
After the passing of the new GST bill in Gujarat Assembly and post the approval of the law by the Centre, the existing Value Added Tax (VAT) act will largely be withdrawn. However, the indirect tax in the form of VAT will continue to be levied on petroleum products such as petrol, diesel, crude oil, natural gas, liquor and aviation turbine fuel (ATF).
The Gujarat Assembly Speaker had not pronounced the last budget session that ended on March 31, 2017, as concluded, thereby leaving a room for a special sitting to be considered as a continuation of the budget session.
In August last year, Gujarat had convened a special two-day session for discussion and ratification of the Constitution Amendment Bill in August last year. The State had become the sixth State to ratify the Constitution Amendment Bill as a support to the ruling NDA government for easy and faster rollout of GST.
The leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, Shankarsinh Vaghela, said that any offence under this should not be non bailable. “Make laws simpler so that citizens abide by it”, he added. He said that the government should ensure that farmers and small traders were not harassed for it.
Vaghela said that the government should also ensure that the bill does not encourage inspector raj. BJP had opposed us on several fronts including GST Bill when Congress as the ruling party at the Centre wanted to pass the same. The bill was recently passed in the Rajya Sabha thanks to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. We are thinking beyond party interest and in the larger interest of the nation, we are supporting you to pass the bill in Gujarat assembly”, he added. For news in Hindi see our Hindi news daily Chaupal Chronicle