The Nagaland Assembly today joined the rest of the country in passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. The bill was passed by voice vote at the special session of the House. The bill was introduced by Chief Minister Dr. Shurhozelie Liezeiestu, who also holds the Finance portfolio. Initiating a discussion before passing the bill, Minister for Roads and Bridges Y Vikheho Swu apprised the MLAs about the benefits in implementing GST in the state. If implemented properly, the GST will bring a number of benefits to the state such as benefits for trade and industry, benefit to the consumers, besides an increase in revenue generation for the state, he said.
However, there are challenges too, where the business community and the public will have to align with the new system in order to keep up with the change, Swu said. With the GST, multiple layers of taxation will be eliminated, production at both national and international level will receive a boost, cost of production will be cut, goods and services will become cheaper besides the state will be able to earn more revenue, he said.
Participating in the discussion, Parliamentary Secretary for Housing Levi Rengma, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism C Apok Jamir, Minister of School Education and SCERT Yitachu and MLA T R Zeliang expressed hope that implementation of the GST would not only benefit the state but also the consumers as prices of commodities will also go down.
Chief Minister Dr Liezietsu said that the GST regime will open a new era in the indirect taxation structure and administration in the country.
He said that presently there are multiple subjects on which taxes are levied and collected throughout the country yet various provisions of the Constitution provide the sanction and clearly define the subjects on which the Centre and the states can levy and collect taxes. In the present tax regime, he said, if all the sale points happen to be within the state, there is some relief in the form of VAT wherein one is allowed to take the credit for the tax, already paid in the previous transaction.
However, he said, the tax structure does not provide any relief in the form of tax credit, if the goods are manufactured somewhere else and reaches Nagaland after passing through many intermediate taxpaying sellers, located in some other state or states. Liezietsu said the idea of the new GST regime is to make the entire indirect taxation process more transparent, more effective and easier to implement.