Himachal assembly may ratify GST bill next week

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh assembly may ratify the constitution amendment bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST) during its monsoon session beginning on August 22, an official said here on Friday. With this, the hill state will become the fourth after Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand to ratify the bill. "The constitution amendment bill on GST will be tabled in the assembly," S.S. Verma, Secretary to the Speaker, told IANS. The six-day session will have five sittings, with a holiday on August 26. It will conclude on August 27. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has hailed the passage of the bill in parliament, saying it was the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that conceived the measure. "The Congress was in favour of the bill," the Chief Minister told reporters here, adding "In fact, the UPA government had brought this bill." Political observers said the GST bill was likely to be passed unanimously as in the 68-member assembly, where the Congress has a majority with 36 members. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 27 legislators. There are four independent legislators and one from the Himachal Lok Shakti Party, which has been merged with the BJP.