GST: Meghalaya Assembly passes bill, forest products like areca nut, dry fish to be tax-free

Shillong: The Meghalaya Assembly on Monday unanimously passed the Meghalaya Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 paving the way for the roll-out of GST regime from 1 July.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The bill was introduced by taxation minister Zenith M Sangma in the special session of the Assembly.

Speaker AT Mondal declared that bill was passed by a voice vote.

Earlier Zenith said, "It is the desire of all states and the Government of India since long time back to see the light of the day when GST is rolled and also see a balancing act of sharing the revenue."

He said under the new tax regime, the commodities used by the poorest section of the society will be considered at the lowest rate while the food grains and vegetables will be tax-free.

On the members demanding more clarity on the pros and cons of the GST and its implementation in the state, Zenith said the state government had protested the proposed taxes on state’s own forest produce such as areca nut or even dry fish which is a popular food item among the tribals in the region.

He said, "The GST Council later accepted that green areca nut will be tax-free while processed areca nut or 'supari' will be taxed at 5 percent only. So is the case with dry fish in which the council has agreed to bring down the tax from 12 percent to 5 percent."

The other issues Meghalaya government had demanded was the reduction from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10,000 where a purchaser is not required to give his details in the invoice.

"We demanded that this slab should be reduced to Rs 10,000 or at least Rs 20,000 or else the tax benefits of a buyer's state will be lost to the seller's state," he said.

On the threshold limit, Zenith said, "We have fixed it at Rs 10 lakh as is the case with other northeastern states. This means that any dealer with less than Rs 10 lakh turnover will not be under the tax net."

Updated Date: Jun 12, 2017 17:31 PM

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