Karnataka ready for July 1 rollout of GST

Setting the stage for the rollout of the new indirect tax system from July 1 in the state, the legislative assembly passed the Karnataka Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 on Thursday, even as both the Congress and BJP claimed credit for introducing the country’s biggest tax reform.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah tabled the bill in the assembly, following which a voice vote was called. The assembly speaker KB Koliwad then declared the bill passed.As of now, 24 states and Union Territories have passed the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Act in their respective assemblies. The constitutional amendment stipulates that all states must pass the respective SGST bills by September 15, failing which they will lose their taxation power.

The CM said Karnataka had always been at the vanguard of driving tax reforms.”World Bank has acknowledged Karnataka as the most progressive state, when it comes to tax reforms,” he added. The CM said, “We’ve done all the homework to ensure there are no major hurdles.”

However, BJP leader Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri said that the state’s image had suffered as a result of its failure to become the first state to pass the GST bill. “Karnataka was the first state to implement VAT. We failed to use the opportunity to set an example with GST, despite being the most progressive state in India,” Hegde added.

Pointing out that credit ought to go to the Narendra Modi-led Centre for passing the pathbreaking reform, Hegde said, “The BJP created history by steering the longpending legislation, despite the hurdles created by Congress in the Parliament.”

However, agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda, who represents Karnataka on the GST council, said, “In 2011, the Congress-led UPA government introduced the GST bill in the Lok Sabha and set April 2012 as the deadline for the rollout of the indirect tax regime. But, BJP-ruled states, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, raised red flags over the bill, resulting in the delay.”

Siddaramaiah said, “The state will not face any trouble with the introduction of GST.”

[Copyright By IST]