Assembly session from today, state unlikely to ratify GST

Report by: 
Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Kolkata
18 May 2017

In another instance of its strident opposition to the Union government's policies and actions, the West Bengal Assembly is highly unlikely to ratify the GST Bill in its session starting from Friday. The session will continue up to May 30.

The Constitution Bill which has already been passed by Parliament on March 20 requires ratification of more than 50 per cent of the state legislatures before it is sent to the President for his approval. So far eight states have ratified the Bill and the Centre has fixed July 1 for implementation of the new tax regime on July 1. ``It's not necessary that all state legislatures will have to clear the Bill. Only 50 per cent of them will have to approve it. The state is not yet ready for the new tax regime. Besides we are the only state which is consistently opposing the NDA government's anti-people policies. For this we don't think the GST bill is going to be ratified this session,'' a TMC source told Echo of India.

Amit Mitra, state minister for finance, and chairman of the empowered committee of state ministers on GST,  during a meeting of the business advisory committee of the assembly last week remarked that industry was not yet ready for GST. He in fact has written to the GST council that is at present meeting in Srinagar requesting it to postpone the implementation as he said the state's SME sector was not ready for the new tax regime. ``We have received nothing so far as GST bill is concerned. In fact it has not been discussed at all,'' Nirmal Ghosh, Government chief whip, told Echo of India. Meanwhile a total of eight bills are going to be passed in this session of the assembly. While a bill is going to be introduced that would seek to make Bengali compulsory from class 1 to X in all schools, there will be bills related to the panchayat, education and law departments.