The Punjab State Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2017, was passed unanimously by the state Assembly here on Monday. Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal introduced the Bill in the House. Before the Bill was passed, former finance minister and SAD leader Parminder Singh Dhindsa, AAP leader Kanwar Sandhu and BJP MLA Som Prakash spoke on it.
Sandhu expressed concerns related to an increase in the price of agriculture inputs and equipment under the GST regime because of “high” tax rates. The AAP legislator also said that Punjabi cinema will be hit after the GST rollout. He sought to know whether states will lose financial autonomy with the GST coming into force.
Dhindsa wanted zero tax rate on agriculture inputs emphasising that if it was not done, Punjab farmers would suffer. Earlier in the day, the Punjab cabinet at its meeting chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, had approved a proposal for amending the Punjab Municipal Fund Act, 2006 and the Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Fund Act, 2011 to pave way for the implementation of the Punjab State Goods and Service Tax Bill, 2017.
Neighbouring Haryana had passed its GST Bill last month. On May 4, the Haryana State GST Bill was passed unanimously by its state Assembly, in special one-day session.