Delhi becomes 12th state to pass GST Bill, wants slab of 10%

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Delhi became the 12th state to get on the GST bandwagon
Delhi became the 12th state to get on the GST bandwagon

New Delhi : Delhi became the 12th state to get on the GST bandwagon, with the assembly passing the state GST bill on Wednesday.

The Bill, moved by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, was passed unanimously.

"Delhi is the 12th assembly passing the GST bill. In principle, this bill is good for the traders. However, several traders have raised concerns over higher tax slab on different commodities and services. I will raise these concerns in the next GST council meeting on June 3," he said. 

Dubbing the bill as the biggest tax reform in independent India, Sisodia, who holds the Finance portfolio, said that the GST's focus should be public-centric and not officer-centric.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described the bill as a big tax reform and also said that they support it in principle.

"I, myself, was an Income Tax Commissioner. I better understand that lower the tax rate, more will be the compliance. So we propose to have one tax slab of maximum 10 per cent instead of higher tax slabs of 18 and 28 percent," he said. 

The Chief Minister also said that the assembly also passed a resolution moved by Karolbagh MLA Vishesh Ravi demanding a maximum slab of 10 percent.

The resolution said the house believed that higher tax rates never returned higher collections to government exchequer, but instead led to inflation and tax evasion.

"This House proposes that GST tax rates on any Good or Service should not be more than 10 per cent out of which 5 per cent should belong to states and 5 percent to the Centre," it said.

Several MLAs during a discussion on GST have raised their concerns over higher tax slabs and questioned why liquor and real estate were kept out of GST purview.

Replying to the queries and concerns of the legislators, Sisodia said that he "opposed" higher tax rates on various items and services including hotels, marble, optical lens etc in GST Council meetings.

"In GST council meetings I had advocated keeping real estate under the ambit of GST but finance ministers from almost all the states - including the BJP rules states - said it should be kept out," he said.

The leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta said that bringing GST was a "big" and "historic" decision and it would not only help in increasing the national capital's revenue but also curb tax evasion.

He also said that the liquor and real estate should have been brought under the GST Bill but was quick to add that Sisodia should tell the house if he opposed these decisions and registered his dissent in GST Council meetings. 

Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai said the GST was not needed of the country and would adversely affect the economic system of the nation. 

Earlier, the House witnessed high voltage drama when AAP's rebel leader Kapil Mishra was shoved and dragged away by some AAP legislators in Delhi Assembly before he was marshalled out of the assembly.

The former Water Minister, who has been campaigning against Kejriwal levelling graft allegations against him, claimed he was "punched" and "kicked" by four or five AAP legislators.

Delhi Speaker Ram Niwas Goel termed the incident "unfortunate".