The state assembly has decided to hold a day-long special session of Maharashtra legislature on August 29, to ratify the constitutional amendment to the goods and services tax (GST) bill.
The Centre has convened a meeting of finance ministers of all states in New Delhi on August 30. Against the backdrop of the meeting and on the occasion of Pola — the festival of worshipping bulls, which falls on September 1 and 2 — the assembly decided to hold the special on August 29. The finance department had proposed that it be held on September 1.
The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 on GST earlier this month. At least half the states should ratify it within 60 days for a notification on the formation of the GST council. The council will give two-third representation to states and one-third to the Centre.
Bihar, Assam and Jharkhand have ratified the amendment by convening a special session, while Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh plan to hold this session during this week.
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 state government has started to chalk out a plan to restructure the sales tax department to ensure that the GST is implemented without any hassle from April next year. The state plans to keep the tax rate at 20% under the 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 is losses from the sixth year onwards,” the officer said.