Assembly passes GST Bill, CM promises to plug leaks

The government would take measures to “fix loopholes and plug leakage” in the implementation of GST, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy told the Assembly on Friday.

“So far, 60 people have been booked for providing wrong information and eight have been arrested,” Kumaraswamy said during a debate on the Karnataka Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which was passed by the Assembly.  

BJP legislators Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, Basavaraj Bommai, J C Madhuswamy among others asked the government if the state received adequate compensation from the central government, and if there were any losses under the uniform taxation regime.

“The GST compensation from the Centre in 2017-18 was Rs 7,500 crore. This year, it may be less,” Kumaraswamy said. He, however, did not elaborate.

The Bill seeks to replace an ordinance that was issued to roll out uniform taxation.

“It is considered necessary to amend the Karnataka Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (Karnataka Act 27 of 2017) to implement the new return filing system and also to overcome the difficulties of filing returns and payment of tax under the GST Act on the lines recommended by the GST Council,” states the Bill.

The Karnataka Land Revenue (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018, was passed by the Assembly. The Bill extends by two years the time for the constitution of committees headed by MLAs to dispose of applications seeking regularisation of unauthorised occupation or cultivation of government land (bagair hukum).

The Assembly also passed the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement (Amendment) Bill, 2018. This proposes to replace the existing e-procurement portal with a new Karnataka public procurement portal, through which all stages of tendering will be made public.

The BJP, however, demanded a joint selection committee to review the Bill as members expressed concern that the proposed amendments would do little to streamline the existing “tardy and non-transparent” tender process. The Bill was passed only after Kumaraswamy assured them the amendments proposed were minor in nature and that the government was ready to review the tendering process.

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