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Centre rushing through GST laws, says Manpreet

Chandigarh, July 23: Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has opposed the Centre’s “hasty framing of laws” related to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), touted by the saffron party as its biggest economic reform. According to him, the move is bound to invite immense litigation.

Manpreet was the only one to have raised an objection in the GST council meeting held in Delhi on Saturday.

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Although he wanted to get finance ministers of other non-BJP ruled states on board, ministers of West Bengal and Kerala and even Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who holds the finance portfolio, were not present.

Manpreet also raised concerns over “neglecting” of the recommendations of the Law Review Committee.

“The recommendations were not shared with the states. We should be allowed to study these first, before the matter is taken in the council meeting,” Manpreet told The Tribune, adding that he was not there for the entire session of the meeting and “had to leave to reconcile with my disappointment at rushing through of the GST law”.

On Sunday, he shot off a letter to Union Minister Piyush Goyal (who is heading the Finance Ministry), saying that the GST law in its present form has too many aberrations that need immediate correction, some from retrospective effect.

It further says that the process of correction should be done by involving all stakeholders, including taxpayers. “The process should be adequate, fair and transparent so that the need to go back to legislatures at frequent intervals is avoided,” it reads.

Manpreet has also objected to the fact that the work done by the Law Review Committee is being ignored “to get some select amendments passed during the monsoon session of Parliament. Of the 69 amendments recommended by the committee, only eight have been accepted without changes and 15 with changes, while the remaining 46 have been ignored,” reads the letter.

Manpreet said the “extremely brief consultation does not repose confidence” for such kind of legislation. “The process adopted for the finalisation of the GST law also impinges upon the state’s right of proper representation before we take up this legislation in our legislatures for approval,” he added.

Notably, before the GST Council meet, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 1, raising concerns about the recommendations of Law Review Committee not being shared with states and being ignored in the council.

Source Tribune India

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