The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Maharashtra government is likely to convene a day-long session in the first week of September to ratify the constitutional amendment to the goods and services tax (GST) bill.
The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 on GST earlier this month. At least half of the states should ratify it within 60 days for a notification on formation of the GST council. The council will give two-third representation to states and one-third to the Centre.
The state government has started to chalk out a plan to restructure the sales tax department to ensure GST is implemented without any hassle from April next year. The state plans to keep the tax rate at 20% under GST, which may lead to a rise in bills for utilities and consumer services. “Maharashtra will have to bear a loss of Rs14,000 crore a year, including Rs7,000crore-Rs8,000 crore it collects through octroi in Mumbai. Although the losses will be compensated for the first five years, the real worry will be the losses from the sixth year,” the officer said.
The Centre has convened a meeting of finance ministers of all states in New Delhi on August 30. While the finance department of the state wants the session on September 1, the state cabinet will take a final decision on Monday.
“With the Opposition supporting the GST, the passage of the bill in both the houses of the state legislature will be a mere formality. The department has planned to convene it on September 1. As Pola, a festival to worship bulls, falls on September 1 and 2, it would be inconvenient for legislators from rural areas,” said an official from the finance department.
Bihar, Assam and Jharkhand have ratified the amendment by convening a special session, while states namely Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh have planned the session next week.