Assembly passes Kerala GST Bill

The government has decided to intensify market intervention measures this Onam to hold the price line, especially with the implementation of the GST regime. More money has been set aside for the purpose, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said in the Assembly on Thursday.

Earlier, during the discussion on the Kerala Goods and Service Taxes Bill, 2017, former Finance Minister K.M. Mani and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala pointed out that despite the taxes coming down, prices had been going up.

Traders were exploiting the ignorance of consumers regarding GST and charging more. Even prices of items which had no connection with GST had been hiked.

Mr. Mani said the State government had still the right to intervene in the market to control prices.

Mr. Chennithala pointed out that traders and monopolies were piling on GST over the existing tax and fooling the public. The government should come clean on the steps it was taking to deal with the complaints.

Dr. Isaac, in his reply, said that price rise following the implementation of the GST regime was indeed a serious issue and that the Centre’s attitude towards the concerns expressed by the States was very unhelpful.

In the last GST Council meeting, Kerala had argued for the implementation of stringent measures to control price rise but the Centre had taken the stand that more time should be given to traders as input credit would not show before September. Kerala had asked the Centre to call a meeting of all stakeholders in the trading sector and to make it clear that they had to reduce MRPs as taxes had come down. But the Centre had refused to give any assurance on that count.

The Bill was passed by the Assembly.