The Goa Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, becoming the 23rd State legislature to ratify the tax reform.In his reply to the debate during the specially convened session, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said though the Congress-led UPA introduced the GST Bill, it failed to find consensus among States for the Bill. Mr. Parrikar said this consensus was clinched by the NDA government by making provision for compensating States for losses in the first five years. “It is no more a mere promise from the Centre, it is a legal undertaking,” he said.Mr. Parrikar said Goa being a consumption State with a huge tertiary sector would benefit around ₹600 to ₹1,000 crore a year. The legislation, which was passed by Parliament earlier this year, is crucial for a pan-India indirect tax regime and is expected to be rolled out in July this year. Mr. Parrikar said, “The GST will simplify the tax structure. Several taxes in force now will be done away with. It will bring relief to people across sections, including the business community.”Former Chief Ministers Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane, both of Congress, cautioned the government that the Bill gives sweeping powers to officers and asked the government to ensure it would not usher in licence-Raj again.Mr. Parrikar said ahead of implementation, training workshops would be organised for officials, traders and service providers on the provisions of the Bill. In August last year, the Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution ratifying the amendments to the Constitution to pave way for the presidential assent to the Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2016.Industry welcomes moveThe Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) welcomed the passing of the GST Bill. “Implementation of GST is expected to trigger a economic revolution and lead to total transformation of all businesses including trading, manufacturing and services,” said Narayan Bandekar, president of GCCI.With implementation of GST, the inconvenience that businesses face having to deal with multiple authorities will be avoided as there would be only one rate for one commodity throughout the country. A common market will also lead to logistics and inventory cost minimisation, the GCCI said. As mentioned by Chief Minister Parrikar , there may be a few initial hiccups in implementing the GST Bill in the State because compliance is quite complex, said Mr. Bandekar. He said the GCCI is making all-out efforts to ensure that the trade and industry in Goa are fully geared for the smooth roll out of GST. The GCCI has also set up a cell that will extend all possible help and guidance to Goan businessmen in matters related to GST.