The Himachal Pradesh Assembly Monday ratified the landmark constitutional bill for the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which was passed by the Parliament earlier this month. The bill was introduced by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, on the opening day of the assembly’s week-long monsoon session.
The 68-member Himachal Pradesh House has 36 Congress members, 28 BJP and rest four are independents supporting the Congress. The bill was put to vote by Speaker B BL Butail within minutes after being introduced in the House by the chief minister. The opposition BJP, which had earlier staged a walk out from the House, returned to ensure that the bill was ratified unanimously. There was no discussion held in the bill.
“Himachal Pradesh, which is a consumer state, will be benefited by the bill. It will help in boosting trade and commerce once it was implemented in the country. All trade and commerce bodies in the state have hailed the bill,” Singh said.
Himachal Pradesh became the fourth state after Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam to ratify the bill. Chhattisgarh and Gujarat assemblies are next in line to adopt the legislation.
The GST Bill is considered as the single biggest tax reform in the country and it needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the President can notify the GST council, which will decide the new tax rate and other issues.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had earlier said that the GST bill was introduced by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, but the BJP — then in the opposition — had opposed the move .