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Gujarat assembly passes state GST Bill

Gandhinagar: The Gujarat assembly passed the state Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill unanimously during a day-long special session here today.

The state assembly also passed two other related Bills.

The Parliament on April 6 had passed four legislations to pave the way for nation-wide roll-out of the GST from July 1.

During the day-long session here, the assembly has passed the Gujarat GST Bill, the Gujarat Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill and the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill.

Both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress legislators held a lengthy debate over the bill before passing it with a voice vote along with the two other related legislations.

In his opening remarks, Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela gave credit to the past UPA regime for conceiving the idea of a uniform tax structure across the nation in 2006.

He also alleged that the BJP, which was in opposition, vehemently opposed to the GST Bill when it was tabled for discussion in Parliament in 2011 by the then UPA government at the Centre.

“Though we brought the GST Bill in the interest of the nation, the BJP did not agree to it and even disrupted the Lok Sabha proceedings back then. Will the BJP pay for the damages our country incurred for this delay in its implementation?” asked Vaghela, adding his party will support this Bill in the larger interest of the society.

On a similar note, senior Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohil reminded that the state BJP dispensation is now making a “u turn” on this issue.

“Earlier, the BJP government here had opposed the GST, claiming that it will make a dent in Gujarat’s tax revenues.

After the BJP came to power at the Centre, you made a u turn and started favouring the GST,” said Gohil.

Replying to Congress leaders, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the delay was caused because the UPA regime failed to win trust of all the parties on the GST implementation.

“The GST got delayed because the UPA government had failed to convince even their allies, such as the Left parties at that time. It was (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi who brought everyone together and won their trust” said Patel, who handles the Finance portfolio among others.

–PTI