Bihar Assembly To Hold Special Session To Clear...
Bihar Assembly's monsoon session ended on August 4 but it has called for a special one-day session on August 16 to pass the Goods and Services tax (GST) bill cleared by the Rajya Sabha last week.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, usually not in league with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had, last week, phoned Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, offering to convene a special sitting to sign off on the proposal.
The Chief Minister has earlier said that the GST could add about 8,000 crores to Bihar's revenue every year.
The proposal for the GST, India's biggest ever tax reform, was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on August 3.
On August 9, the Lok Sabha unanimously passed the constitution amendment bill and now the GST must be cleared by at least 15 of the 29 states. The government aims to accomplish the task within the next 30 days.
What parliament and then states are in the process of approving is an amendment to the constitution that gives the government new taxation powers. Then, separate legislation will be sent for review on the rate of the new GST, as well as its scope.
State governments widely support the GST because it will boost their share of taxes and make cross-border trade far smoother.
Their representatives will collaborate with the Finance Minister on deciding the rate. Though an 18% rae has been proposed by the government's own chief economic adviser, Finance Ministry officials say the tax is likely to be higher. The main opposition Congress party has said it will campaign against the GST if it is not capped at 18%.
States that produce goods have been assured that they will be compensated for five years by the centre for the losses they will incur since the GST is applied on consumption.
On Friday, Assam cleared the bill only four days after both houses of parliament unanimously passed it.