Maharashtra and Haryana today ratified the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and
Services Tax (GST) passed by the Parliament taking to 11 the number of states which have passed the landmark tax reform.
Besides Maharashtra and Haryana, nine states — Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Nagaland, have already ratified the Bill. The state Assemblies of Maharashtra and Haryana ratified the Bill unanimously.
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The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 on GST was passed by Parliament recently and it 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 government has set April 1, 2017 as target for rolling out GST, considered as the biggest tax reform. The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly ratified the GST at a special one-day session of the state legislature in Mumbai. Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who tabled the resolution to ratify the bill, said Maharashtra would not incur any losses after GST comes into effect.
“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has held detailed discussions on the GST bill with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley,” he said. “We have also allayed apprehensions of Shiv Sena on the bill,” the state Finance Minister said.
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Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said the ruling BJP should not claim credit for ushering in the GST era.
“GST bill is the offspring of Congress and BJP should not claim parentage. It was Congress which bore the ‘labour pain’ (on GST bill),” Vikhe Patil said.
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In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, the BJP and Shiv Sena (SS) alliance has a majority of 185. With the Opposition Congress and NCP in favour of GST, the Lower House
ratified the Bill unanimously.
The bill was introduced in the Haryana Assembly by state Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu and it was passed after a brief debate.
In the 90-member Haryana assembly, BJP has 47 MLAs, INLD 19, Congress 17 (after HJC merged with Congress), BSP one, SAD one and five are Independents.
Participating in the discussion on the resolution regarding ratification of the 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Kiran Chaudhary
asked the government to take care of the interests of small and medium business enterprises who may be impacted after the implementation of GST, a new regime of indirect taxes.
She suggested that the threshold limit to levy tax be enhanced from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh in GST.
“GST Bill is a Congress’s baby and it is a simplified tax. But it has a lot of clauses,” she said. Chaudhary said the state might face revenue loss of Rs 9,000 crore because of GST and asked the government how it will ensure to neutralize the same.
Congress MLA Karan Dalal said GST is a “destination tax”. He said the government should clarify which authority would resolve any issue arising out of inter-state dispute.