Karnataka passes GST Bill
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Bengaluru: The Karnataka legislative assembly on Thursday unanimously passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill 2017, fulfilling its obligation under the constitutional amendment that mandates all states to pass the bill by 15 September.
“We are prepared for GST”, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, who also holds the finance portfolio said in the assembly.
However, legislators from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), criticised the delays in passing the bill, due to which the state won’t get enough time to place all its suggestions before the GST council.
“Karnataka, being forefront in tax reforms, should have passed this bill earlier. The government could have taken suggestions of the state and placed it before the GST council much earlier,” Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, former minister and BJP legislator said.
A special session convened on 14 September last year was called off as more than 50% of the states in the country had already given its consent for the bill to become law.
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Karnataka is the 25th state to pass the bill.
Siddaramaiah said he would place all concerns of the state before the GST council meeting on 18 June. Agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda represents Karnataka in the GST council.
Kageri said there are many manufacturers in the state and that the government should ensure that any reduction in taxes is passed on to the consumer.
He added there is still a lot of confusion among the trading community ahead of the roll out and suggested that the commercial tax department carry out more awareness drives.
Karnataka government has spared no opportunity to flaunt the ‘most investment friendly state’ tag to attract foreign and domestic investments over the years. Karnataka, with a growth rate of 7% per annum, has attracted over $12 billion of cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2009, according to state government data.
The state will also forgo around 60% of all existing taxes, including entry tax, central service tax, VAT, entertainment tax, betting tax and luxury tax—totaling about Rs35,000 crore annually—as they will be subsumed by the GST, according to Karnataka commercial tax department officials. Professional tax which earns about Rs1,100 crore for Karnataka, along with state excise, motor vehicles, stamps and registration, among others, will continue to remain out of the GST.
The Karnataka government has tried to mitigate estimated losses by removing VAT (value added tax) from liquor and replacing it with additional state excise duty. The state declared 17 slabs of additional excise duty in its 2017-18 budget and hopes this step would help insulate its target of achieving Rs18,050 crore in 2017-18.