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Bihar becomes 2nd state to ratify Constitutional amendment bill on GST

The Bihar State Legislature has unanimously ratified the The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 for introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime in the country.

The Bill was moved by the State Commercial Taxes Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav which was unanimously adopted by both of the houses (Bihar has bicameral legislature).

With passage of the bill by the state legislature, Bihar becomes the second state in India to ratify the GST.

Benefits to state

  • GST will bring uniform indirect tax system throughout the country and there will be simplicity in the tax system. Revenue of the state will increase after GST bill.
  • State will get share of those service taxes which were earlier collected by the Central Government only.
  • Manufacturing state were getting lion’s share of taxes, now the consumer states will also get benefit.

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Assam becomes first state to ratify The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014

The northern east state of Assam became first state in India to ratify The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014.

In this regard, the Assam Assembly passed a resolution ratifying The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 with simple majority.

The Bill was passed by the Parliament in August 2016 and was forwarded to states for approval as per Article 368 of Constitution. The approval of half of the states (15 out of 29) in mandated as per Article 368 of Constitution as it deals with changes in the features of fiscal federalism.

Article 368: Special Majority plus State ratification

  • This type of special majority plus state ratification is required when a constitutional amendment bill try to change the federal structure.
  • As per article 368, the bill must be passed by a special majority requiring a majority of 2/3rd members present and voting in both houses of Parliament.
  • Besides, it must be ratified by more than half of the state legislatures (15 out of 29 states) by a simple majority.

Key Provisions of the Bill

  • Keeping in mind the federal structure of India, the GST has two components viz. Central GST (CGST) and the State GST (SGST).
  • Besides, Centre will only levy the Integrated GST (IGST) on interstate supply of goods and services or imports.
  • Parliament and state legislatures have concurrent powers to make laws on GST. Parliament will not override state law on GST.
  • GST council will recommend rates of tax, period of levy, principles of supply, special provisions to certain states etc.
  • GST council will comprise of Union Minister of Finance (Chairman), Union Minister of State (MoS) for Revenue and state finance Ministers as members.
  • Alcoholic liquor for human consumption has been keep away from preview of GST.
  • Initially, GST will not apply to (i) petroleum crude, (ii) high speed diesel, (iii) motor spirit (petrol), (iv) natural gas and (v) aviation turbine fuel. The GST Council will decide when GST will be levied on them.

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Rajya Sabha passes Mental Health Care Bill

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Mental Health Care Bill to provide better healthcare for people suffering from mental illness and also to decriminalise suicide.

The progressive legislation and is patient centric Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha by the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda.

Key Features

  • The Bill provides, every person has right to access mental health care and treatment from services run or funded by the government.
  • Under it, these also have right to equality of treatment, protection from inhuman and degrading treatment, access to their medical records free legal services etc.
  • It also has a provision to protect, promote and fulfill the rights of such persons during delivery of mental health care and services.
  • The Bill focuses on community based treatment and special provisions for women and health have also been provided.
  • In case of person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumedto be suffering from mental illness at the time of attempting suicide unless proved otherwise.
  • Such person shall not be liable to punishment under section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  • It also provides for establishment of Central and State Mental Health Authority. It also establishes Mental Health Review Commission and Board (MHRCB) as a quasi-judicial body.

Background

The Bill was proposed as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which India is signatory. It requires the countries to align their laws with the Convention. In India, around 6 to 7 per cent of the population suffers from some kind of mental illnesses, while 1 to 2 per cent suffers from acute mental disease.

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