Odisha for ‘green tax’ on minerals, besides GST

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Bhubaneswar: A day after the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha, Odisha’s Finance minister Pradip Amat today said the Centre should allow the States to implement a green tax on minerals and polluting items.

Talking to newsmen here, Amat said, “We demand that powers be given to the States to implement additional tax, called green tax, on pollution creating items and minerals. The money accrued from the green tax will be utilised in the areas where minerals are extracted.”

The Finance Minister said Odisha also wants power to levy tax on tobacco and related items over and above the GST.

He said the State will take steps to implement GST. “GST is a milestone in indirect tax reforms in the country. Odisha supports the GST system according to which the State will benefit from consumption-based tax,” Amat added.

“As the Value Added Tax, CST, Entry Tax, Entertainment Tax are merging with the GST, the economy, business, agriculture and industry will get a boost. The State will also get the Service Tax which is not happening now,” Amat elaborated.

Amat demanded that the Centre should compensate Odisha on account of the loss caused by the Central Sales Tax system till 2016-17.

Meanwhile, Saswat Mishra, Commercial Tax Commissioner, Odisha, said, “The GST Council comprising the Union Finance Minister and Finance Ministers of the States will decide what goods and services will attract how much tax following which the system will be implemented across the country.”

On the other hand, Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said, “The GST bill was first introduced by the UPA government. The bill could not be passed as BJP was opposing it. Now the BJP government brought the bill with certain modifications. Congress party insisted that the bill introduced by BJP should undergo change.”

Former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo said Odisha may not get much benefit under the GST Act.

“We have to wait for the finalisation of rules of GST. We will have to analyse the tax devolution between the centre and states. But the good thing about it is the shift to the GST regime will lead to a uniform, seamless market across the country,” said Kanungo.

Notably, the amendment to the GST Bill was passed in the Upper House with 203 ayes in the final vote yesterday.

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