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GST won’t affect financial autonomy of local bodies: Maharashtra govt

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-05-2017 PTI

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has said it would ensure that the goods and services tax (GST) does not hamper financial autonomy of local self government bodies, as the special three-day session of the state legislature began in Mumbai on Saturday.

“The government has accepted the responsibility of compensation to local bodies for five years, for the loss of revenue due to abolition of octroi and local body tax due to GST,” finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told the state assembly during a discussion on GST bill.

Around 5,100 staffers in finance department have been trained for work related to GST implementation, Mungantiwar said, adding another 6,000 will be trained later. The House passed the bill to provide for compensation of Mumbai and other local authorities for loss of revenue arising on account of abolition of octroi and local body tax due to implementation of GST’ on Saturday.

It also passed the bill to amend the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act; the Maharashtra Entertainment Duty Act; the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act; the Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Tax Act; Village Panchayats Act; Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Townships Act; State Tax on Professions, Trades, Callings and Employments Act; and the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act.

The House, which was adjourned on Saturday after passage of the two bills, will take up on Sunday the ‘bill to make provisions for levy and collection of tax on intrastate supply of goods or, services or, both in Maharashtra’.

Leader of opposition in assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, while participating in the debate, said the government should also pay attention to the issue of loan waiver for farmers. “Is the GST more important than farmers’ loan waiver?” he asked.

Earlier Saturday, when the House proceedings began, the opposition in legislative assembly targeted the Devendra Fadnavis-led government for not providing GST bill copies in Marathi. NCP MLA and former assembly speaker Dilip Walse-Patil said it is the “failure” of the government that Marathi translation of bill number 35, one of the three GST bills to be tabled on Saturday, was not available, even when the House proceedings began.

There has been a dereliction of duty on part of the government for failing to make available Marathi translation of bill 35, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said. “We did not get adequate time to read the bill before discussing it in the House,” he said. Chief minister Fadnavis said the opposition is indulging in delaying tactics by insisting on bill 35 copy despite the bill not being called for discussion.

The three-day special session of the Maharashtra legislature to discuss and ratify the goods and services tax (GST) bill 2017, to pave way for the national rollout of GST on July 1, began on Saturday. The draft Maharashtra GST Bill, approved by the state cabinet, was tabled during the session. The bill seeks to protect the financial powers and autonomy of local self-government bodies in the state.

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