Watch: GST Bill tabled in UP legislature; Oppn disrupts Governor's address

Business Standard By Virendra Singh Rawat May 15, 2017. 15:39 IST

Opposition threw paper balls at the Governor while he was addressing the House

SP MLAs display placards and raise slogans during the Governor's address to the first sitting of the 17th Uttar Pradesh Assembly in Lucknow (Photo: PTI)

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday tabled the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the state assembly even as pandemonium marked the inaugural day of the special session of Uttar Pradesh legislature.

This was the first sitting of the UP legislature in calendar 2017 and first for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members sitting in treasury benches after a gap of nearly 15 years.

No sooner did Governor Ram Naik proceeded to read out his message, than the opposition members marched to the well of the house wearing caps and holding placards, denouncing the Yogi government over farmers’ and law and order issues.

Throughout Naik’s address, the opposition members led by the principal opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) members indulged in shrill slogan shouting and even whistling. Some members continued throwing paper missiles at the Governor, and his guards had a tough time fending off the projectiles with file covers.

Amid din, nothing was audible and a visible irritated Naik interrupted his address multiple times and reminded the unruly members that people of the state were watching them. Ex-chief minister and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, who is a member of the UP legislative council (upper house), was also present in the assembly.

The house proceedings were telecast live by the regional Doordarshan (DD) channel for the first time following Yogi’s missive to the union information and broadcasting ministry.

The Yogi government enjoys a brute majority in UP assembly with the party and allies accounting for 325 of the total 403 seats in the lower house of legislature. The combined opposition strength is 78 comprising SP (47), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 19, Congress 7 etc.

The special session was convened to allow the passage of the GST Bill, which had already been cleared by Parliament and now requires ratification by the respective state governments for its pan-India implementation from July 1, 2017.

Earlier, the Yogi cabinet had on May 2 approved the proposal pertaining to the implementation of GST in UP, after it is tabled and ratified in assembly.

The state government is confident its tax revenue would increase under GST, which is touted as the most liberal tax structure ever adopted in the country. Any shortfall in revenue under GST would be compensated by the Centre in early years. However, petroleum and alcohol products would not be covered under GST.

GST underlines the concept of One Nation, One Tax regime. Earlier, UP had witnessed its tax kitty burgeon under the existing Value Added Tax (VAT) regime too. VAT was implemented in UP on January 1, 2008 during the previous Mayawati rule.

Since, UP is basically a consumer state with a large basket of goods being imported from other states, the state is projected to be a net tax gainer, since GST is a destination based taxation system as against manufacturing sourced.

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