BJP’s GST Bill Will Choke Revenues of Local Bodies: Cong

Opposition Congress today said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in its current form will severely affect the financial autonomy and revenue of local bodies, virtually setting tone for Winter Session of Parliament.

“The GST Bill drafted by the BJP, if allowed to be passed in its current form, will adversely impact the financial autonomy and revenue of local bodies of states,” senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel told PTI.

His remark came on a day when state finance ministers failed to iron out certain minor differences over the proposed GST.

The GST Bill, which will subsume all indirect taxes to create one rate and integrate the country into a single market, has been approved by the Lok Sabha and is pending approval of the Rajya Sabha.

BJP’s ambitious GST Bill which remained pending during the Monsson Session of the Parliament amid protests by Congress-led opposition would remain one of the highlights during the Winter Session which begins November 26.

“We are protesting this move (imposition of GST) and are demanding that interests of local bodies be protected at any cost. If the Bill is passed in current form, local bodies in Gujarat and other states will loose control over Rs 12000 crore of revenue,” he said.

Patel said that his party was “adamant” on the financial independence of local bodies as it is very important and vital to their functioning.

“We are confident that our opinion will prevail. It is not just a question of a bill, but the question of ideology. If we do not trust our local bodies does it mean that we do not trust our people? Why should officials sitting in secretariats determine people’s local taxes,” he asked.

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