A special session of the Jharkhand assembly will be convened on April 27 for the passage of the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) bill, a prerequisite that all states must follow before the implementation of a uniform GST nationwide likely from July 1.
The parliamentary affairs ministry has written to the cabinet and coordination department in this regard. It was cleared by the cabinet on Tuesday and would be sent to the assembly speaker and Rajbhawan for the customary approval of the governor.
Legislative assemblies of all states need to pass the state GST law in order to switch over from the current system of levying multiple indirect taxes at the state and central level. The proposed state legislation would confer power on the state government to levy goods and services tax on the supply of goods and services or both which take place within the state.
The initiative of holding a special assembly session is a sequel to the passage of four supplementary legislations that will enable the government to roll out the landmark GST.
The four bills passed by the Rajya Sabha on April 6 are: Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017 and Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017. The Centre is expected to give final approval to rules and rates the next month.
Parliamentary affairs minister Saryu Rai said, “Previously the special session was planned on April 28 but it has been advanced by a day in view of chief minister Raghubar Das’s busy schedule that day.”
After Telangana, the BJP-ruled Jharkhand is likely to be the second state to hold a special session on SGST.
“GST is expected to jack up the state’s revenue. In case the state fails to reap the expected benefit, the Centre will compensate the loss for the next five years,” Rai said.
He, however, was not sure whether the assembly will be debate the State Goods and Services Tax Bill. It will depend on the opposition, he said.
The JMM indicated that they want a debate. “We will seek a clarification from the treasury bench on the state’s share and likely losses and gains from the GST regime,” said JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya.
Even as the Centre is preparing to roll out GST from July 1, Jharkhand’s enrolment under GST is still tardy. Around 80,000 dealers and traders are registered with the state commercial department. Till date, only 55,000 dealers and traders have migrated to the GST fold.
Joint commissioner (administration) of the state commercial tax department, Gopal Krishna Tiwary, however, said they would be able to achieve the enrolment target by July.
“Over 10,000-15,000 dealers, who had been registered around 4-5 years back, never filed their returns. We wanted to scrap their registration. But, as per a provision in GST, we can cancel their registration only after realising the due tax amount. Therefore, the database is displaying their enrolment as pending,” he said, adding, “we will sort out the issue soon.”
Meanwhile, the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI) wrote to the Union minister of state for finance Arun Ram Meghwal urging no action should be taken against traders for one year, as it is a new system and the possibility of mistakes cannot be ruled out.