Meghalaya had sought lower tax on dry fish, a popular dish in the state, under the GST.
The Meghalaya assembly today unanimously passed the Meghalaya Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, paving the way for the roll out of the new tax system on July 1. The bill was introduced by Taxation Minister Zenith M Sangma in a special session of the assembly. Speaker AT Mondal declared that the bill was passed by a voice vote.
"It is the desire of all states and the government of India for a long time back to see the light of the day when GST is rolled out and also see a balance act of sharing the revenue," Mr Sangma had said earlier.
He said under the new tax regime, commodities used by the poorest section of society will be considered at the lowest rate while foodgrains 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, Mr Sangma said the Meghalaya government had protested the proposed taxes on the state's own forest produce such as arecanut and even dry fish, a popular food item among tribals in the region.
"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," he said.
The other issues the Meghalaya government had demanded was reduction from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10,000 where a purchaser is not required to give details in the invoice. "We demanded that this slab should be reduced to Rs 10,000 or at least Rs 20,000, or else the tax benefits of a state the buyer belongs to will be lost to the state of the seller," he said.
On the threshold limit, Mr Sangma 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 will not be under the tax net."