HP Assembly passes MSME bill amid opposition walkout

The Himachal Pradesh Assembly passed the HP Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (facilitation of establishment and operation) Bill, 2019 on Friday.

The MSME bill proposes to exempt any person bringing a micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) in the state from taking approvals from government departments for three years.

The bill was passed amid a walkout by the Congress, which raised several objections to the bill when it came up for discussion on the fifth day of the ongoing winter session.

The Congress MLAs alleged that the state government was trying to “sell” Himachal Pradesh by bringing this bill.

Congress MLAs Mukesh Agnihotri, Sukhvinder Sukhu and Jagat Singh Negi alleged that provisions of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act which restrict transfer of land to non agriculturists have been overlooked in the bill.

Lone CPM MLA Rakesh Singha also raised objections and said he should be excluded from the passage of the bill.

Criticising the Congress for walkout, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said there is a set procedure for proposing amendment for discussion in the bill but instead of adopting the procedure, the opposition created uproar in the House.

“This bill will encourage the establishment of new enterprises, which may significantly contribute to overall economic growth and development in the state,” he added.

Tabling the MSME bill in the state assembly on December 10, Industries Minister Bikram Singh had said, “With a view to facilitate new investments, generate more employment and promote entrepreneurship, there is a need to give effect to exemptions from certain approval and inspections, required for establishment and operation of new MSME.”

Earlier, the assembly unanimously passed the HP Good and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which had been tabled by the chief minister on Tuesday.

At present, every supplier making a taxable supply of over Rs 20 lakh in the state is liable to be registered in HP. The amendment proposes to increase the limit to Rs 40 lakh.

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