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Assam first State in India to ratify GST Bill

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  13 Aug 2016 12:00 AM GMT

I am sure Assam will benefit from the GST through higher economic growth and better revenue collection: Sonowal

FEW BENEFITS
* Standard tax rate on all items will revolve round nearly 9 per cent.
* Those goods which have 15 per cent sales tax on them will witness 9 per cent fall in tax.
* Those goods which carry 6 per cent sales tax on them will witness 9 per cent rise in tax.
* 127 items which are enlisted in the VAT second schedule will witness rise in VAT from 6 per cent to nearly 9 per cent, but tax on about 1,500 items will fall to nearly 9 per cent from 14 per cent.
* After the implementation of GST, VAT, sales tax, CST, entry tax, luxury tax, etc. will be abolished.

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Aug 12: In the whole country, Assam has become the first State which placed and ratified in the Assembly the constitutiol amendment needed for the implementation of the GST Bill in the State on Friday. The ratification was done unimously with a few members of the Opposition questioning the urgency of the State Government of passing the amendment for ratification without discussions on the issue in the House.

On behalf of Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal, State Fince Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma moved a resolution stating “that this House ratifies the amendment to the Constitution of India falling within the purview of clauses (b) and (c) of the proviso to clause (2) of article 368, proposed to be made by the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2014, as passed by both the Houses of Parliament”.

Members of all political parties unimously supported the ratification of the Bill. In his statement, Hussain said GST was the idea first mooted by the Congress being implemented by the NDA Government. He re-quipped what the Prime Minister said in Parliament on August 8, “Jam koi de, lalan palan koi kare (somebody may give birth, but someone else may nurture)”, adding, “there was a need for discussion before passing the amendment bill. Why has the ratification been brought in the House in a hurried manner?” Similar view was echoed by Saikia on the passing of the amendment.

In his address, Sarma said GST would be a blessing for a consumer State like Assam, but it might not be a blessing for a manufacturing State. At the first stage, implementation of the GST Bill was opposed by manufacturing States, but a State like Assam where consumers play an important role would be benefitted, said Sarma.

According to the Fince Minister, when GST comes into effect, both the Union and State Governments would collect GST. The State government would keep its share and the Centre would return 42 per cent of the tax collected to the State government concerned, he said, adding that a tiol level GST Council would be constituted in which the Union Fince Minister would be its chairman and the State fince ministers would be inducted as its members. “After the implementation of GST, VAT, sales tax, CST, entry tax, luxury tax, lottery and gambling, etc. will be abolished. GST will not be applicable on land and essential commodities. Petrol, diesel, LPG and tobacco will also be temporarily kept out of the ambit of GST. Although liquor will be kept out of the GST ambit, there will be excise duty on liquor as earlier,” said Sarma, adding, “town committees, municipalities, zilla parishads and autonomous councils can collect their own taxes as per earlier rules.”

Fince Minister Sarma, however, made it clear that the State’s interest would be protected and special provisions are kept in the GST for Assam, other northeastern and Himalayan States. “If, for example, Assam faces any tural disaster, the State will get its share of benefit from GST.”

As Sarma further said, “Standard tax rate on all items will revolve round nearly 9 per cent. Those goods which have 15 per cent sales tax on them will witness 9 per cent fall in tax and those goods which carry 6 per cent sales tax on them will witness 9 per cent rise in tax. 127 items which are enlisted in the VAT second schedule will witness rise in VAT from 6 per cent to nearly 9 per cent, but tax on about 1,500 items will fall to nearly 9 per cent from 14 per cent.”

He said inflation rate would fall too after the introduction of GST as predicted by a study conducted by a group of economists.

After receiving the GST Bill on Thursday night from the Central Government, a Cabinet meeting was held on Friday where the amendment was passed and with the approval of the Business Advisory Committee of the Assam Legislative Assembly, the bill was filly placed and ratified.

The GST Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on May 6, 2015 and in Rajya Sabha on August 3, 2016. The Lok Sabha agreed to the Bill on August 8, 2016. It may be mentioned here that 18 States of the country will need to ratify the Bill before it gets the fil approval of the President of India. If all goes as per plans of the State and Central Governments, the GST will come into effect in Assam from April 1 next year.

“A historic resolution was passed in the Assembly on Friday. Assam has become the first State to ratify the constitutiol amendment bill relating to the GST,” the Chief Minister tweeted soon after it was ratified. “I am sure Assam will benefit from the GST through higher economic growth and better revenue collection,” said Sonowal.

Sonowal later told the media that Prime Minister rendra Modi, during a telephonic conversation, congratulated him on the Bill’s ratification.

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