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GST rollout from 1 July will have serious problems: West Bengal FM Amit Mitra

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-06-2017 PTI

New Delhi: West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra on Saturday said roll out of the goods and services tax (GST) from 1 July will have “serious problems” and there is no harm in delaying its implementation by a month.

However, finance minister Arun Jaitley exuded confidence that states are ready to implement the new indirect tax regime from 1 July. “I will stick to the target date,” Jaitley said. Demanding delayed implementation of the GST, Mitra said: “If Centre forces July 1 roll out, there will be serious problems. When we can see signs of major problem, what is the harm in delaying by a month or so. Today also I have expressed my views saying it should be delayed.”

Also read: GST Council fixes rates for contentious items, gold at 3%, solar panels at 5%

Mitra also said that the Union finance minister has to first decide whether Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is ready for it. “So far, GSTN has been able to do test drive on 200-300 companies in each state. Forms and rules have been changed in May. The finance minister has to decide whether it should go ahead with the biggest fiscal reform when the IT preparedness is not 100 per cent,” he added.

On his demand for low tax rate for bidis, he said, “We will raise the issue again in GST Council meet on June 11.”

On Saturday, the council decided to tax bidis at highest slab of 28% and tendu leaves at 18%. There will be no cess on bidis. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on Friday said her government would not support the new GST system in its present form and that her government would write to Jaitley for making changes to make it suitable for all the sections of the society.

“We will not support the GST in its present form. In its present form, it doesn’t suit every section, especially the unorganised sector. They (Centre) have to rectify it...We have to continue with our fight to bring down the tax rates on certain products. Unless the rates are reduced, they will adversely impact the state’s economy and employment,” Banerjee had said.

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