The West Bengal Assembly on Friday unlisted the Goods and Services Tax Bill from a special session scheduled for August 29 and postponed it indefinitely. While state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said the discussion "will not be possible now", Bharatiya Jananta Party state unit chief Dilip Ghosh said it was a "political conspiracy", according to PTI.
The decision was made at a meeting of the Assembly's Business Advisory Committee in the presence of opposition parties. Trinamool Congress leader Nirmal Ghosh said they were not taking up the discussion on the GST Bill during this special session because of "time constraints". Dilip Ghosh, however, questioned the decision, saying he did not understand why they deferred the matter now while the August 29 date was finalised at a meeting on August 18.The special West Bengal Assembly session, which started on Friday, was called specifically to ratify the GST Bill, which was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on August 3, as well as to debate on the proposed move to rename the state, according to The Economic Times. The move to defer the discussion also followed the Centre's notice on monitoring states' coffers. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "trying to break the federal structure" and run a "presidential form of government".
The GST Bill seeks to bring in a single tax rate to replace India's complicated current rules, which include Central excise duty, service tax, additional customs duties, value added tax, entertainment tax and so on. It will replace 17 indirect tax levies. So far, it was ratified by Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chhatisgarh.