Chhattisgarh Assembly on Monday unanimously ratified the Constitutional Amendment Bill on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at a special session.
Commercial Tax Minister Amar Agrawal tabled the resolution for discussion, and after a discussion which saw participation of legislators from both treasury and opposition benches, it was ratified unanimously.
In his reply to the discussion, Chief Minister Raman Singh said the GST was a great step towards strengthening the economy of the states and removing leakage in taxation system.
Without the consent of the states, it would not be possible to impose the tax or change the taxation structure. GST will fulfil the concept of one India and one taxation system from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, he said.
With the advent of GST, the states’ economy would be strengthened enough in the next few years which would help the states in economic growth, Singh said.
Though the main opposition Congress had already announced its support to the ratification bill, its MLAs gave several suggestions and said that consumers must not suffer due to the implementation of the new tax regime.
Leader of Opposition T S Singhdeo said the states will virtually lose their role in taxation system with GST. Their right to impose taxes would be restricted and it would also not be possible for them to grant tax exemptions on local people’s demand, the Congress leader said.
The middle class would not benefit by GST, he said.
The GST Bill, seen as single biggest tax reform in a long time, 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 a deadline of April, 2017 for its rollout.