Demonetisation was unplanned, don’t repeat this error with GST, says Maharashtra Opposition

Mumbai city news: Opposition legislators slammed the state government for being unprepared for rolling out the important bill

mumbai Updated: May 22, 2017 08:42 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,GST,mAHARASHTRA GST
State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar during the second day of a three-day special session of the Maharashtra Assembly on Sunday.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Day two of the three-day special Assembly session to discuss and ratify the Goods and Service Tax (GST) saw the Opposition raising several concerns about the proposed legislation.

Opposition legislators slammed the state government for being unprepared for rolling out this important bill and pointed to loopholes in the proposed law.

Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, asked the state government not to make a mess with GST like it did at the time of demonetisation. “There was no planning before announcing demonetisation of old notes, which seriously affected common people. The state government should not repeat this while implementing the tax regime — GST,” Vikhe Patil said in the Assembly.

The Opposition leaders also used the opportunity to raise the issue of a loan waiver for distressed farmers, asking the state government to immediately declare relief for the agrarian community. NCP legislator Jayant Patil said the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has given a loan waiver of Rs1 lakh crore. “How many more days the Maharashtra government will study the issue of loan waiver before taking any decision?” he said.

Meanwhile, the state council cleared the Maharashtra Goods and Services Tax (Amendment, Validations and Savings) Bill, 2017, which will hand out compensation to local bodies for loss of revenue from local taxes such as octroi and local body tax, a day after the state Assembly passed it

Even as the council cleared the bill, they raised several doubts over the implementation of the new tax regime. For starters, the state will have to amend eight other existing legislations to avoid multiplicity of taxes and implement the GST from July 1. These include the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, the Entertainments Duty Act, the Motor Vehicle Act etc.

NCP leader and MLC Rahul Narvekar said with the implementation of GST, the state would compromise its constitutional governance as the tax does not have same rate.

“One nation, one tax” is the Union government’s slogan for GST. However, it is unclear to what extent is the government willing to compromise its legislative independence. We need uniform rate along with one tax for better functioning of this tax regime,” he said.

Dhananjay Munde, leader of opposition in the Legislative Council, questioned, “How is it ‘One Nation, One Tax’ if rates are different. Cost of petrol is highest in Maharashtra, whereas in the neighbouring state of Goa, it sells it at Rs60.”

Replying to the queries of the members, Deepak Kesarkar, minister of state for finance, said the State has kept provision to safeguard revenue for government. “We are not going to compromise legislative independence. All finance ministers are part of the GST Council and 75% consent is required to decide final rates,” Kesarkar said.

The all-important Bill for the Maharashtra Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, will be discussed and is likely to be cleared by both the Houses on Monday.

First Published: May 22, 2017 08:42 IST