After days of protests and ruckus, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday witnessed transaction of business as it passed the legislation to extend the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to Jammu and Kashmir, making it part of the ‘one nation, one tax’ regime.
The Lower House passed the Central GST (Extension to J & K ), Bill, 2017 and the Integrated GST (Extension to J & K ) Bill, 2017 after a brief discussion in which members by and large welcomed the measures.
While the first bill would provide for the levy of the GST on goods sold and services rendered in the state, the second one seeks to levy the tax on inter-state movement of goods.
During the debate on the bill, union finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the argument against GST in J-K was given by separatist as it will lead to greater integration with India. “The special status was never created for the economic impediment of the state,” he said.
Jaitley also refuted the Congress allegations that GST infringes upon the special status of the state.
Jaitley also took a jibe on those asking for single tax slab as he said, “Those who are advocating for single tax slab have learnt it from some western nation where there is no BPL population. Single tax slab is an argument against the poor and only for the wealthy.”
Meanwhile, Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary crticised the government for taking ordinance route for implementing various laws. “The government should ensure that the new tax regime will not affect the fiscal autonomy of the state,” he said.
After passing the bill, Lok Sabha moved on to Consideration of Banking Regulation Amendment Bill. Members from Opposition parties raised the issue of NPA during the debate.
Saugata Roy of TMC opposed the Bill saying it is not a necessary Bill and didn't require an ordinance. Under existing laws the government could have taken steps under NPA. “What was the government doing for three years as the NPAs rose, he asked. He named the "toxic twelve," which collectively amount to the maximum NPA of Rs 2,53,729 crores. The banking sector is on the verge of collapse, claimed Roy.
Gourav Gogoi of Congress said that NPAs increased by 100% in 1 year. “Government has taken credit for containing inflation, fiscal deficit but what about NPAs? Names of companies that have taken Rs 500 to 1000 crore of loans must be revealed,” he added.