Scrapping of LBT was featuring prominently in BJP's poll manifesto for the recently concluded Assembly elections and yet Maharashtra government now want GST to be introduced first
The Maharashtra government is unlikely to scrap the local body tax (LBT) unless the union government introduces the goods and services tax (GST). However, scrapping of LBT was featuring prominently in BJP's poll manifesto for the recently concluded state Assembly elections.
"Yes, we did include scrapping of LBT and thereby bring cheer to traders in our poll manifesto. We remain committed towards fulfilling our promise. But at the same time how can we ignore the current financial condition of the state," state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told reporters.
He added that Maharashtra, which was once considered to be a financially sound state, is now reeling under a debt of Rs3.44 lakh crore. When the situation is so bad, shouldn't it be priority (of the government) to improve the fiscal condition of the state, he added.
Traders across the state have been demanding to scrap the LBT for some time and also held protests.
"We have the LBT and the octroi which is providing a revenue of Rs14,500 crore to the exchequer annually. When we abolish these revenue sources, we need to find out an alternate source of revenue generation first," Mungantiwar added.
He said the Centre is keen to implement the GST from 2016 and reimburse the state with the difference in the revenue once it is implemented here.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, "Say if we manage to collect only Rs8,000 crore from GST, the Centre will provide us with the remaining Rs6,500 crore so that we get the same revenue as we currently get from octroi and LBT."
"We have two options before us. Either we increase our tax collection by coming out with an alternative to LBT and octroi, or we wait for a year till GST will be introduced. I will explain the technical problems to the trade Union and try to convince them to wait for a year till we introduce GST," he said.
Mungantiwar echoed Fadnavis's views and said the state may consider postponing the scrapping of LBT and Octroi by a year.
Fadnavis has also called a meeting of traders after which he may announce his decision on LBT.
Supreme Court observed that seemingly the allegations made by Centre for Public Interest Litigation against CBI Director Ranjit Sinha had 'some credibility'
Ticking off the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Supreme Court on Thursday observed that apparently 'all is not well' and seemingly the allegations made by Centre for Public Interest Litigation, the non-government organisation (NGO) against CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has 'some credibility'.
"For us, it appears that all is not well and prima facie it seems that allegations made in the application by NGO has some credibility," the apex court said while hearing the case related to allegations by the NGO that Sinha might have tried to save some accused in 2G spectrum scam.
On Wednesday Sinha had told the apex court that DIG-rank CBI officer Santosh Rastogi was a 'mole' who passed on certain file notings and documents to the NGO on the basis of which baseless and false case was filed against him.
Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover Thursday said that Sinha had interfered in the 2G case which is completely inconsistent with the agency’s stand.
"Our case in 2G could have been demolished, if Sinha's stand was accepted," Grover told the highest court.
The SC also said that shifting Rastogi from 2G probe was overreach of its order.
The Apex court also expressed displeasure over the presence of a number of CBI officers in the court room.
Around eight CBI officers were present in the court room, all of whom left after the SC's observation.