The West Bengal Assembly today began discussions on the West Bengal Goods and Services Tax (WBGST) bill to replace the ordinance on the new tax system. Though GST has already been rolled out across the country from July 1, West Bengal is yet to pass the state GST bill due to reservations in certain areas. The bill was opposed by the Left members and the ruling Trinamool Congress who supported the bill criticised the Centre for GST, which it said will cause pain to the common man, and the lack of infratructure for the new taxation system. TMC member Shilbhadra Dutta speaking during the discussion criticised the BJP-led government at the Centre. "Though we support introduction of GST as a noble concept, we don't agree to certain things imposed by Centre due to which the poor are being hurt." Also the GST was introduced hurriedly without proper infrastructure, he said adding had the Centre introduced it with adequate infrastructure like internet connectivity across India then it would have been smooth and its benefits could have been felt. He also criticised the Centre for raising the tax on flattened rice, which is a food of the common people and reducing tax burden on luxury cars. Another TMC member Chandrima Bhattacharya questioned the imposition of 12 per cent tax on sanitary napkins at a time when Centre was focusing on hygeine. BJP member Dilip Kr Ghosh supported the bill. Congress member Sukhobilas Burman questioned the drafting of the bill. The discussion will continue tomorrow.
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