The Uttar Pradesh Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, was unanimously passed by both houses of state legislature on Tuesday, a day after being tabled in Assembly. The Bill was passed through a voice vote after a debate over the same, with the Opposition not pressing for sending it to a select committee. During the discussion, both BJP and Congress tried to take credit for first initiating the move for a uniform tax regime at the central level.
Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu said that the initiative for GST was first taken during the UPA regime under then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and pointed out that it was opposed at the time by Narendra Modi, who was then the Gujarat chief minister.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath then claimed in the House that the first step in this regard was taken in 2003, during the regime of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, after which the Congress took it forward, and it was given final shape under the regime of Modi as prime minister.
Calling the GST a “revolutionary step towards economic reform”, Adityanath requested that the Bill be passed unanimously, citing the example of how similar Bills have been already passed in the Assemblies of West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu etc. While Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary initially proposed to take it to the select committee, raising concerns about the compensation of loss to the exchequer to states which do not have a government of the same political party in power at the Centre; legislatures like Nitin Agarwal raised concerns over e-filing of tax and demanded exemption of traders with a turnover below Rs 1 crore.
While these queries were answered by chief minister, the Opposition decided not to press for sending the Bill to the select committee, and it was passed unanimously.