Home / Politics / Policy /  Kerala to ratify GST Bill in September session

Bengaluru: Kerala will ratify the Constitution amendment bill enabling the central government to roll out GST (goods and services tax) in a special assembly session starting 26 September, state finance minister Thomas Isaac said.

The government has handed over a letter to governor P. Sathasivam to hold a special session as decided by a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, he said.

Kerala is governed by an alliance led by Communist Party of India (Marxist), which has objections to some aspects of GST. However, the ratification will only be a formality since Kerala is not opposed to GST in-principle. But the concerns raised will remain, said Isaac.

In an earlier interview, Isaac had said that he is in favour of a GST rate above 20% and a rate of 5% on articles of daily consumption to minimize the burden on the common man. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government favours a moderate GST rate to contain inflationary pressures. The other major national party, the Congress, wants the tax rate capped at 18%.

Alsp Read: Thomas Isaac bats for GST rate in excess of 20%

The Union government is aiming to roll out GST—a tax reform that will do away with multiple indirect taxes and unite the country into one common market—from 1 April 2017. The Constitution amendment bill to enable this received Parliament’s nod last month, and has been ratified by more than 50% of the states in the Union so far, clearing the minimum requirement before it could be sent for President’s assent, Mint reported on 2 September.

The Union government has received support from across the political spectrum with several state governments ruled by non-NDA parties voting for the bill, the report said.

The government shall notify the bill once it collects details of procedures in state assemblies and then constitute the GST council where the real action would come into play. The GST council will decide the contentious issues, raised by Isaac and other state finance ministers, like the tax rates under GST and the issue of division of administrative control between the centre and the states.

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