BJD makes stand clear, will support GST Bill with riders


Bhubaneswar: The BJD on Sunday said it would support the crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation with certain changes in the monsoon session of Parliament starting Monday.

Briefing the media about the party’s stand after an all-party meeting convened by the Centre to arrive at consensus on GST, BJD parliamentary party leader in Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab said the BJD has already made its stand clear on the GST legislation.

“As there are provisions for the manufacturing states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra to levy 1% additional tax (beyond the tax provisions of GST), we demand that the mineral-bearing states be allowed to levy the additional tax,” Mahtab said.

Earlier, chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik had said on Sunday that his party would back the Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation despite its difference with the Centre over a number of issues.

The GST is a significant step in terms of tax reforms in India since independence, said an expert. The proposed law would amalgamate a large number of central and state taxes into a single tax.

The ruling dispensation in Odisha also accused the Centre of reducing assistance and changing sharing pattern of a number of centrally-sponsored schemes. “Odisha is a backward state and slashing of funds would have a great impact on implementation of welfare measures. So, we demand a special fund for such states,” said Mahtab.

The BJD will raise other issues in both the houses of Parliament. They are construction of barrages in the upper catchment area of the Mahanadi by Chhattisgarh and Polararam (now Indira Sagar dam) by Andhra Pradesh.
The party accused the Centre of playing politics over the Mahanadi as Chhattisgarh is a BJP-ruled state.

The BJD would also protest against the Centre’s decision to accord national status to Polavaram project that is feared to inundate a large portion of land and habitations in tribal-dominated Malkangiri district.
The Centre is not taking a clear stand on Polavaram despite Odisha’s opposition to the project. Even though two cases related to Polavaram are pending in the Supreme Court, the Andhra Pradesh government is executing the project unilaterally, Mahtab added.
On Saturday, Naveen raised both the issues at the inter-state council meeting in New Delhi. The meet was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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