A bill to replace an ordinance for the timely execution of the GST law in the Union Territory of Chandigarh was passed by the Lok Sabha today. The Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Amendment Bill, 2017 seeks to transfer power of the central government to levy taxes on entertainment and amusement in Chandigarh to its municipal corporation. In reply to a short discussion on the Bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said “the process of self correction will continue till we reach perfection.” The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 31. The GST was rolled out across the country from July 1 and the ordinance was brought as Parliament was not in session then.
Jaitley said that after the July 1 implementation of GST, the government realised that the cess which was earlier fixed by the GST Council had resulted in a windfall profit for cigarette companies. “We corrected it,” he said. The minister also said it was wrong think that after getting the parliamentary powers, the states would misuse it. Elaborating further, he said that there are 17 taxes and 23 cess which have been subsumed in GST. Participating in the debate, N K Premachandran (RSP) said that he was opposed to the ordinance route of the legislation. Santokh Singh Chaudhary (Congress) said the government implemented the GST in a haste which led to “chaos” in the country.
Elaborating further, Chaudhary said GST has been brought from countries and in other nations it has been implemented in one slab. But this GST ‘one nation, one tax’ is in multiple layers in India. People, he said, think that they have been taken for a ride and added that the government made tall promises but back-tracked. “This has created such a chaos in the country,” he said. Sougata Roy (Trinamool Congress) said his party was in favour of introducing GST but it had reservation on implementing it in a hurry. It has been a month that the indirect tax regime has been implemented, he said, adding that there has been some hiccups and complains. He also expressed hope that there would some moderation in tax rates. After the Minister’s reply, Premchandran withdrew his statutory resolution disapproving the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Amendment Ordinance.
The bill replaces the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Amendment Ordinance, 2017. It amends the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, 1994, which extends the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976 to the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Under the 1994 Act, the central government has the power to levy entertainment tax and entertainment duty for Chandigarh. The Bill transfers these powers from the Centre to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh. The amendment is consequent to the Constitution (101st Amendment) Act, 2016 (GST) which subsumes Entertainment Tax within the ambit of GST, except where it is levied by a panchayat or a municipality, the bill said. Currently, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has the power to the levy Octroi and taxes on vehicles and animals. The Bill seeks to remove these powers.