Bills passed to amend Gujarat GST Act and Indian Partnership Act

© Provided by The Indian Express

Two Bills of the Finance Department amending Gujarat Goods and Services Tax Act and Indian Partnership (Gujarat Amendment) Act were passed unanimously in the Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday. The Bills, introduced by newly appointed Finance Minister Kanubhai Desai, propose to bring certain amendments to the two Acts for increasing “ease of doing business” in the state and for the smooth implementation of the Gujarat GST Act.

The Gujarat GST (Amendment) Act proposes to bring in around 15 clauses of the parent Act to amend. Desai also said that the amendments are for compliance as well as simplification of the Act and to check tax evasion.

The amendment Bill proposes to remove mandatory requirement of getting annual accounts audited and the reconciliation statement submitted by specified professional as well as to amend a provision to make seizure and confiscation of goods and conveyances in transit a separate proceeding from the recovery of tax.

It also proposes to provide that no appeal shall be filed against an order made under a provision of the Act unless a sum equal to 25% of the penalty has been paid by the appellant as well as to empower the commissioner to call for information from any person relating to any matters dealt with in connection with the Act.

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A number of MLAs from the Opposition Congress, including Paresh Dhanani, CJ Chavda, Rutvik Makwana, Kirit Patel, Lalit Kagathara, Virji Thummar and Harshad Ribadiya as well as BJP MLAs Rakesh Shah, Jagdish Patel and Nitin Patel participated in the discussion, supporting the Bill.

The Congress MLAs also pointed out need to plug holes in the Act to check bogus billing, which is resulting in tax evasion. Some of them also demanded the inclusion of petrol/diesel under GST instead of VAT.

Adding that the objective was not to increase income of the state government, but to help and ease difficulties of genuine traders, the Finance Minister said that lot of provisions have been included in the Bill to check tax evasion.

The finance minister said that when the economy of the country is significantly improving from the Covid-19 pandemic, the current amendments have been brought in so that the citizens of Gujarat, farmers and traders can easily understand and implement it. “The concerns shared by Opposition members (related to the amendment Bill) like (possible) damage to the economy or disadvantage to professionals or traders are not as huge… the main responsibility of this government is also to make sure that the professionals, traders and farmers become happy and prosperous. And this government is doing every effort in that direction,” Desai said.

The other Bill passed unanimously by the House proposes to amend The Indian Partnership Act with respect to its implementation in Gujarat. “As the Central Act was enacted almost 90 years ago, certain anomalies are found with respect to their implementation in the present circumstances…,” said Desai in his Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.

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