Tamil Nadu Assembly enacts Bill amid Opposition walkout

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 19, 2017

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar

Economists are of the view that GST implementation will contribute to a 1 per cent increase in GDP, said Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar.

The Tamil Nadu Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, was enacted in the Assembly on Monday after an active debate that was followed by the main Opposition, the DMK, staging a walkout. The Bill had been introduced in the Assembly on June 14.

Leader of Opposition MK Stalin, while expressing his concerns, urged the government to forward the Bill to the consideration of a select committee for a detailed study. The enactment may be put off to a later date, he felt.

Opposition members including the Congress felt that the law will adversely impact small traders as the systems and procedures are complicated and the trade is not geared for compliance. The law provides for stringent penalties including imprisonment for non-compliance.

Allaying the fears of the Opposition, Finance Minister D Jayakumar said the Centre is moving to GST with the intention of creating a uniform tax regime nationwide.

The TN government under then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had initially expressed concerns over infringement of State rights. It had demanded that petroleum and alcoholic products be kept out of the purview of GST; coastal States be allowed to retain rights to levy tax on transactions up to 15 nautical miles; and that States be compensated for GST losses. Tamil Nadu’s concerns had all been addressed, Jayakumar pointed out.

Economists are of the view that GST implementation will contribute to a 1 per cent increase in GDP. Also, in the GST Council, State governments and the Centre are represented and all have a say, he said.

Seeking the House’s approval for the Bill, Commercial Taxes Minister KC Veeramani said 25 State governments have opted for GST.

K Pandiarajan, member of the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma), in an interaction with media persons outside the Assembly, said the law will prove beneficial for businesses and consumers. Shifting to the new tax regime on time will help the State with a GST compensation of over ₹4,200 crore, which is sorely needed at a time when tax revenues are dropping, he added.

Businesses in Tamil Nadu are well informed, and will take to GST within a matter of months, he said, adding that consumers will also be benefited.

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Published on June 19, 2017
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