Bihar Assembly unanimously ratifies GST bill

Bihar Assembly unanimously ratifies GST bill
The Bihar Assembly and the Legislative Council on Monday ratified the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill at a specially-convened session of the State legislature.

The Nitish regime also adopted the Bihar edition of the GST related bill (Bihar Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017) which was taken up after the Parliament earlier this month passed four bills related to the GST, namely Central GST Bill 2017, the Integrated GST Bill 2017, the GST (compensation to States) Bill 2017, and the Union Territory GST Bill, 2017.

The special session of the House was convened on Monday as the States are required to ratify the GST related laws and endorse tax reforms proposal.

The Bihar Vidhan Sabha Speaker Vijay Choudhary re-convened the special one-day session of the House as the Budget session was not yet prorogued. The Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar last week, had already approved the draft GST bill, touted to be the biggest tax reforms since Independence.

Sources said Nitish always favoured passage of GST bill right from its inception. His former deputy, Sushil Modi, who, by virtue of being the Finance Minister of Bihar, was also the Chairman of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers looking into the GST a few years back.

Modi, who had taken over from Asim Dasgupta of Left Front, had mooted several new proposals which included raising the exemption threshold for small and micro enterprises and introducing a compensatory value-added tax for inter-State trade instead of the integrated GST. But Modi had to quit midway as chairman of the panel after he resigned as Bihar’s Finance Minister when JD (U) and BJP parted ways in June 2013.

The Centre, which, after much deliberations, now intends to roll out GST from July 1, has asked all the State legislatures to ratify the GST Bill. This will help the States in switching over from the current system of levying multiple indirect taxes at the State and Central levels. The proposed State legislation would confer power on the State Government to levy goods and services tax on the supply of goods and services or both, which takes place within the State.
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