Even as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill addresses several concerns of the state, the Congress-led state government is guardedly awaiting its fate in the Rajya Sabha.
With the Bill recently sailing through the Lok Sabha with 352 votes in its favour, the state government is now waiting for the Congress party to announce its stand on the bill that has so far kept tobacco, liquor and petroleum out of its ambit, as wished by the party’s government in the hill state.
The government had maintained that had the bill covered liquor, tobacco and petroleum, it would bear loss in hundreds of crores. While a `640-crore loss was anticipated due to merging of taxes under GST, `400 crore was feared lost due to abolishing of central sale tax (CST) and `100 crore on abolishing the tax on petroleum products.
A government official, not wishing to be named, said GST was beneficial for a consumer state like Himachal Pradesh.
Earlier, principal secretary finance Shrikant Baldi had said the central government had assured all contentious issues would be addressed.
The bill, if now passed in Rajya Sabha, will need the approval of more than half of country’s 29 states, before the central and state governments would get equal powers to tax goods and services.
Goods and services tax (GST) will replace all central indirect taxes, levies, central sales tax, state value-added tax (VAT) and sales tax levied on goods and services by the central and state governments. GST will be concurrently implemented by the central and state governments with the central GST and state GST having equal share.