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West Bengal opposes GST rates, state's Finance Minister Mitra may attend June-3 meeting

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Tuesday opposed GST rates on some products that were likely to impact the state economy and employment badly.

"We have to continue our fight for our demands to bring down the tax rates on some products which will adversely impact the state economy and employment", Mitra said.

The minister said that he might attend the next council meeting on June 3 to raise their concerns, if he was in good health. "I may attend the meeting if my health permits," Mitra said.

He did not attend the last GST council meeting. The meeting is slated to take up tax rates for goods like gold which were left out in the last meeting.

He said the state government opposed tax rates on cinema, books, and leather among others. Mitra said when he was the chairman of the empowered committee of the state finance ministers they were able to mend the Centre's diktats. "But now with the GST council in place, we remain as just one vote in the 33-member council," he said.

Mitra also raised doubts about the readiness for July 1 for GST rollout. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said the party would continue to fight against the unilateral decisions taken by the Centre on rates till an amicable solution was reached. There was no decision on ratifying the law in the state assembly, he said.

Both the ministers said that the state had supported GST in principle, but now the Centre was acting unilaterally and was not in the interest of the state.

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