Economy

Bengal puts off ‘indefinitely’ discussions on GST Bill

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on August 26, 2016

‘Time constraints’ has been cited as the reason

The West Bengal government has decided to postpone discussions on the Goods and Service Tax Constitution Amendment Bill, for an indefinite period.

A special session of the State Legislative Assembly was convened on August 29 for discussion on GST and other matters that include change of name of the state to “Bengal”.

The decision was taken in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting of the state Assembly today in the presence of other political parties including the Opposition.

Time constraints

While the exact reasons for postponing the discussions is not known, government sources say “time constraints” have been stated as a reason.

Despite repeated attempts, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee, was not available for comments.

Congress view

However, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress MP and President of the party’s State unit, confirmed that the government has decided to drop discussions on GST.

The Congress in the second largest party in West Bengal Assembly and enjoys the status of ‘principal Oppisition’. “The Mamata Banerjee-led government has postponed discussions on GST for an indefinite period,” he said. Political observers, point out that the move could be because of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s sudden animosity with the Centre.

Pro-industry image

Interestingly, Banerjee has so far been using GST to project a pro-industry image.

Her contention has been that Trinamool Congress was the first party to support the tax reform measures and has always remained steadfast in its stand.

Considered to be India’s biggest ever indirect tax reform, the Constitutional Amendments to the GST Bill was passed by Parliament.

It needs to be ratified by at least 15 of the 29 state Assemblies to become a law.

So far some of the States to have ratified the GST Bill include Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi. Bihar, incidentally, was the first non BJP-led State to ratify Bill.

Published on August 26, 2016
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