The Jharkhand Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed the Jharkhand Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, becoming the third state after Telangana and Bihar to ratify the Bill, clearing the decks for implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the state on July 1. Ministers said certain aspects of the GST structure would take concrete shape as the Centre and states move closer to its rollout. Concerns over loss of revenue as Jharkhand is a ‘producer’ state would be resolved, they said.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) had threatened to disrupt Assembly proceedings over Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das’ comments against party chief Shibu Soren but decided against it. The Bill was passed within 30 minutes.
The JMM, however, raised the issue of amendments in the Tenancy Acts and appealed to the Speaker to ensure that the issue was discussed in the House. Acting JMM Chief Hemant Soren, in his brief statement on GST in the House, said the state would pave way for giving away all its rights to the Centre. “Tribals don’t have money to pay taxes. They have land. But the proposed amendments to Chotanagpur and Santhal Paragana Tenancy Acts would leave them with nothing. When they would cease to exist, what would one do with taxation,” said Soren, Leader of Opposition in the House.
Chief Minister Das said Jharkhand would be in a position to fill any gaps in five years’ time even though there may be an apparent drop in revenue because the state is a “producer”. “It is going to give rise to transparent business and will end inspector-raj,” he said.
Urban Development Minister C P Singh, who has been representing the state in various meetings of the GST Council, later told mediapersons that the passage of the Bill would pave way for transparency and an easier tax regime for traders across the country.
However, concerns remained about the state losing out on revenue. “We produce iron, coal and other minerals… We will lose out on this. But it has been decided by the Centre that the loss would be compensated for over the next five years. Also, the state would be getting a share from the service tax and excise duty,” said Singh(THE INDIAN EXPRESS,2017).