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Odisha To Attend Centre’s Midnight GST Ceremony At New Delhi

29 June 2017

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo

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Bhubaneswar: As the countdown has begun and the stage is all set for a nationwide implementation of the historic Goods and Services Tax (GST) from June 30 midnight for which all States have been invited to grace the Central Government’s Midnight GST Launching Ceremony at New Delhi, Odisha has geared up to participate in it.

Briefing media on Thursday (June 29), Sashi Bhusan Behera, Finance Minister, Odisha said, “Obviously the State’s Finance Minister has been invited to the ceremony. Also the Chief Ministers have been invited to grace the occasion. Odisha will definitely represent. As the Finance Minister of the State, my representation is sure shot. Till now our Chief Minister’s joining the function has not yet been slated. Apart from me, Finance Secretary and other departmental authorities will also attend.”

On the probable loss and profit front, he replied, “It’s a continuous process. We’re still assessing. Suppose the mining sector that yields major source of revenue to the State coffers. What will be the quantum of loss and the GST compensation to the State already fixed statutorily for a five-year period? Odisha will definitely get. Further assessment will be done then after to see if the compensation amount is sufficient or not.”

On the State’s preparedness to implement GST from July 1, the Odisha Finance Minister informed, “Till date, the preparedness in Odisha in comparison to other States is more fruitful. Adequate information and publicity have been underway well in advance. An interactive session of all the stakeholders of Central GST and State GST has already been conducted here. Those who had been registered here in the State for VAT, more than 61% (1 lakh and 6 thousands) have already come under the migration loop. The rest will also follow the suit. A limited number will stay left out. In the composition scheme, the amount has been enhanced from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 75 lakh. There are also alternative arrangements. As the historic tax law has been tagged with advanced technology, it augurs well.”

On Odisha’s demands, he stated, “So far Handloom and Handicraft is concerned, State Government had exempted tax in a bid to popularise and generalise it. I’ve presented our State’s demand in the 15th and 16th GST Council meetings. In Handicraft, those who are stone sculptors and GST is imposed, the artisans will certainly be affected. We’ll definitely demand for rectification in the future GST Council. Same is also the case with the fate of lower middle class artisans in terra cotta. Their number is maximum. Most of the decision in the GST Council is taken unanimously. A Fitment Committee delivers on it. As Odisha is a consumer State and our handicraft products are not being exported massively, we’ll definitely keep on putting forth our demand of relaxation in this regard.”

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Sashi Bhusan Behera, Finance Minister, Odisha