GST bill tabled in Tamil Nadu assembly amid ruckus
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Chennai: Tamil Nadu minister for commercial taxes K.C. Veeramani tabled the goods and services tax (GST) bill in the Tamil Nadu assembly on Wednesday, the first day of a three-week session.
Ruckus prevailed in the assembly as the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) demanded discussion on the alleged bribing of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) legislators.
Speaker P. Dhanapal denied a discussion on the alleged bribery charges and said that “the matter is sub judice.” He ordered the eviction of DMK MLAs, including opposition leader M.K. Stalin, from the assembly on Wednesday that was scheduled to discuss grants for forest and environment ministries (two separate departments).
Later, the discussion continued without the opposition.
DMK legislators who began to protest outside the assembly complex were detained by the police.
While talking to reporters after being evicted from the assembly, Stalin said: “This Tamil Nadu government headed by Edappadi K. Palaniswami should be dissolved.”
The DMK had approached the Madras high court on Tuesday seeking a probe into the bribery issue ahead of a floor test in the state assembly in February, after two MLAs from rival factions of the ruling party were caught on tape during a joint sting operation by Times Now and Tamil channel Moon TV, claiming that the MLAs were offered money and gold.
Last week, finance minister D. Jayakumar, addressing a meeting of the GST Council in Delhi, pointed out that the Tamil Nadu GST bill will be introduced for consideration and passage during the assembly session.
Jayakumar had highlighted the state government’s stand on tax rates on a number of commodities. While he had said that handloom textiles, fishnet and fishnet twine and sago should be “nil-rated”, the state finance minister sought that the GST on entertainment sector be kept at 12%.
“Another representation that merits consideration is that relating to the fireworks industry which is largely located in Tamil Nadu. A majority of these units are labour-intensive and are at present out of the purview of central excise. Hence, a uniform levy of 28% may harm this sector and also would pave way for the market being flooded with imported fireworks,” said Jayakumar at the GST Council meeting.
According to the Tamil Nadu government, the GST Council has looked into the state’s previous requests and agreed to tax footwear below Rs500 at 5%; to place palmyra jaggery in the “nil-rated” category; to levy tax on textiles at a uniform lower rate of tax; to tax glass for corrective spectacles at 12%; and to tax cashew nut at 5%.