Meghalaya on Friday became the 21st state to ratify the Constitution Amendment Bill on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the assembly unanimously gave its assent.It is the fifth Congress-ruled state after Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh to ratify the GST Bill.Law Minister Roshan Warjri moved the resolution seeking approval of the House to ratify the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, which was approved by a voice vote.Before putting the resolution for approval of the constitution amendment, Speaker Abu Taher Mondal asked if any of the members were interested in the discussion, but none came forward.However, Opposition Chief Whip James Sangma said that they could not participate in the discussion as the government did not supply the necessary papers before the session."Time and again, we have been asking that MLAs should be supplied with necessary papers. When we were not given those papers, how you expect us that within half an hour after seeing the papers lying in-front of us today, we can discuss about this," Sangma told journalists.
"A bill is not an ordinary document, it has a lot of nuances that need to be understood, and then go ahead and debate," he further added.Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that GST will bring in much needed transparency and higher investments in the coming years.State Taxation Minister Zenith Sangma said: "After GST is implemented, the state like Meghalaya will benefit a lot. There will be one rate fixed which is not yet been done, that is called revenue neutral Rate so all the state is looking at 18 percent to be the RNR which may be acceptable for the manufacturing as well as consuming state and when this is implemented, consuming state like Meghalaya will be benefitted a lot." On Thursday, President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the landmark Bill.The government targets to implement the GST system, which envisages a single indirect tax that subsumes most central and state taxes like VAT, service tax, central sales tax, excise duty, etc, from April 1, 2017. The central government will have to pass the Central GST and Integrated GST Bills, while the states will need to approve their respective GST legislations.The states will, however, be able to adopt a GST structure that is different from that recommended by the GST Council, whose recommendations will not be binding on the states.