The Meghalaya Assembly today unanimously passed the Meghalaya Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 paving the way for the roll out of GST regime from July 1. The bill was introduced by Taxation Minister Zenith M Sangma in the special session of the assembly. Speaker A T 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 balance 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 state government had protested the proposed taxes on state’s own forest produce such as arecanut 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 arecanut will be tax-free while processed arecanut or ‘supari’ will be taxed at 5 per cent only. So is also the case with dry fish in which the Council has agreed to bring down the tax from 12 per cent to 5 per cent.” 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.
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“We demanded that this slab should be reduced to Rs 10,000 or at least Rs 20,000 else the tax benefits of a state the buyer belong to will be lost to the state of the seller,” he said. On the threshold limit, Zenith said, “We have fixed it at Rs 10 lakh as is the case with other NE states which means that any dealer with turnover less than Rs 10 lakh they will not be under the tax net.”