KOLKATA: Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra on Tuesday flagged the state's dissent on tax rates proposed on certain items in the new GST regime.
While Parliament had passed all the four GST-related bills during the Budget session, a constitutional mandate requires states to ratify the state-GST legislation for its launch. Twenty-three states have so far passed the SGST Bill, other states have time till the first week of June to ratify it. "GST rules would be finalised in mid-June. How can GST be implemented from July?" Mitra said.
Seeking amendments to the proposed tax rates on a range of items - cashew, leather, books, human hair, bindi and few other materials and products - Mitra said, "The Centre has proposed a 12% tax on footwear and cashew. We want cashew to be kept out of the tax net and no tax on footwear with price up to Rs 500." The GST Council will decide on rates for footwear, textiles and bullion, among a handful of sectors where a decision is pending.
Bengal is seen as the sole dissenter on GST issues. Mitra also sought a revision of the 28% tax rate on the entertainment industry, including on multiplexes and single-screen theatres. "This is a big blow to states which have an entertainment industry. Single-screen theatres in smaller towns will not survive after paying such huge tax when the state government has kept the tax rate at 2%. We are also opposed to the proposed 28% tax rate on books and textbooks," the Bengal finance minister said.
Mitra added that certain products like raw vegetables and milk have been kept out of the GST net only because of Bengal's insistence.