State GST Bill Passed: Milk, fruits to cost cheap, foreign liquor more costly

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly today passed the Odisha Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2017 and the Odisha Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017, paving the way for the rollout of the indirect tax regime from July 1 in the state.

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra, however, said the state should not follow the model of the GST Council and the legislation needed to be passed keeping in view the requirements of Odisha.

Participating in the debate, state Finance Minister SB Behera said the GST Council had accepted at least seven proposals of the Odisha government. However, its demand for allowing the coal-bearing states to impose a green cess on coal production had been rejected, he added.

“Odisha had strongly advocated that the GST rate should be ‘nil’ in case of Lord Jagannath’s mahaprasad and basic food items such as rice, pulses, ragi, vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs and others. These proposals have been accepted at the Srinagar meeting of the GST Council,” he told the House.

The council had also accepted the Odisha government’s proposal not to bring farmers and agriculturists under the GST ambit, the minister said, adding that the state’s demand to consider 2015-16 as the base year had also got the council’s nod.

The twin bills will ensure a simplification of the tax administration, while the Odisha Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017 would allow the state to impose VAT only on six items, the minister said.

Behera said GST will unify at least 17 central and state taxes together and products manufactured in the country, including in Odisha, will be able to compete in the international market.

On the Odisha Value Added Tax (Amended) Bill, he said the state will now impose VAT only on six items — five petroleum products and liquor.

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