Special West Bengal Assembly session drops plan to discuss GST Bill


The plan to discuss the GST Constitution Amendment Bill in a special West Bengal Assembly
session on 29 August has been dropped as, according to state’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee, it will not be possible right now.

The decision was taken in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting of the state Assembly on Friday in the presence of opposition political parties.

“We are not taking up the resolution on the GST Bill for discussion during the special session because of time constraints,” government Chief Whip Nirmal Ghosh said after the meeting.

According to the government sources, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said the discussion on the Bill will not be possible right now.

The BJP, however, smelled a “political conspiracy” behind the decision.

BJP state chief and a member in the House Dilip Ghosh told reporters, “I don’t understand why the government changed its decision. It must be a political conspiracy.”

Ghosh said he would take up the issue with the BJP central leadership soon.

“An all-party meeting in the Assembly on 18 August had finalised 29 August as the date to discuss the GST Bill, but surprisingly this is dropped in today’s BAC meeting,” he said.

Other opposition parties, however, did not make any comment on the development.

The GST Constitution Amendment Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha earlier this month and now it will have to be ratified by at least 15 of the 29 state Assemblies to become a law, which the Prime Minister hoped would be done at the earliest. Gujarat, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand have already ratified the GST Bill. The Prime Minister wants the GST to kick in from
April, 2017.

However, the discussion on three other resolutions, two referred by the government and the other by the Opposition, would be discussed on 29 August as decided earlier in the
all-party meeting.

The three resolutions are: proposal to rename West Bengal as ‘Bengal’, the Centre’s “step-motherly” attitude towards the state, both proposed by the government, and spread of
dengue (proposed by the opposition).

On 2 August, the Cabinet decided to rename the state as “Bengal” after an earlier proposal of ‘Paschim Bango’, made in 2011 during the TMC regime, was not approved by the Centre.

The two-day special session, which began on Friday, was adjourned after obituary references to six eminent persons who died recently, including renowned litterateur Mahasweta Devi
and Indian footballer and coach Amal Dutta.