Maharashtra Assembly passes amends GST and State Public University Act

Monsoon session of Assembly in uproar after Health Minister is unable to answer questions on elephantiasis in Palghar, death of a woman undergoing abortion

August 18, 2022 08:08 pm | Updated August 19, 2022 05:33 pm IST - Mumbai

Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis speaks to the media during the Monsoon session of Maharashtra Assembly in Mumbai on August 18, 2022

Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis speaks to the media during the Monsoon session of Maharashtra Assembly in Mumbai on August 18, 2022 | Photo Credit: PTI

The monsoon session of the Maharashtra Assembly on August 18 passed the amended Maharashtra Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act, 2017, and the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tabled the two Bills and said he was grateful to the late Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for constituting the GST Council. He said the amendment was needed to put an end to all hawala transactions. He said there was a misconception that GST had increased in the State whereas all they had done was to remove all anomalies.

A senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chhagan Bhujbal criticised the amendment of the Act and said, “Why have you increased the GST on pencils and erasers? The children will now sing, ‘School chale hum, GST ke saath’ (going to school with GST)‘.” He also criticised the government for increasing GST on medical bills, and on milk and milk products. “On one hand you say, our financial situation is very good, and then increase GST like this?” Mr. Bhujbal said.

Dahi handi declared adventure sport

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced that August 19 would be a holiday, and said that Dahi handi (human pyramid) is a sport like kabaddi, wrestling, and kho kho and everyone should be happy that it was being celebrated after two years. He said that there would be group insurance of ₹10 lakh for the ‘Govindas’ (who form the pyramid) in case of death, ₹7.5 lakh in cases of grievous hurt, and ₹5 lakh if anyone’s limbs were broken while celebrating the festival, and that they would get priority in government jobs. The opposition, however, lashed out and said there was a huge backlog of unpaid ex-gratia amounts for those injured, so the Chief Minister should at least ensure that injured Govindas were treated in civic and State-run hospitals, which was agreed upon.

There was also an uproar in the House after Health Minister Tanaji Sawant failed to reply to questions raised in the House over the increase in the number of elephantiasis cases among children in Palghar, and the death of a mother of three children due to a botched-up abortion in Beed. Opposition leaders kept asking Mr. Sawant whether the doctor booked in the Beed case held an MBBS if his clinic had been sealed and if there were enough doctors and technicians to tackle the outbreak of elephantiasis in Palghar if any posts were vacant. “I have no information on any of the questions. I have taken charge of the Ministry a couple of days back,” Mr. Sawant said.

Maharashtra Public Works Department Minister Ravindra Chavan informed the house that from 2012 to 2022, a total of 6,692 accidents had taken place on the Mumbai-Goa Highway and 1,512 persons had died. He was replying to a notice by Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu. “The State government is trying to complete the construction of the highway by December 2023,” Mr. Chavan said.

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