The Meghalaya Cabinet on Monday approved the Meghalaya Goods and Services Tax Ordinance, 2019, to make amendments in accordance with those made to the Central Goods and Services Tax Act of 2017.

State Home Minister James Sangma said the decision to amend the state GST Act followed after the GST Council had recommended various amendments to the provisions of the Central GST Act.

“The state governments, including Meghalaya, have been asked to amend their respective GST laws and to notify the amendments to become effective from January 1, 2020,” he told the media.

Sangma said that the amendment has been made to address the tax payers’ grievances, to simplify the return filing system, to plug the revenue leakages and to further streamline the administration process.

Meghalaya Cabinet approves lottery rules

The cabinet on Monday approved the Meghalaya lottery rules for conducting lottery in the state which will help the state government generate revenues.

Meghalaya Home minister James K Sangma told mediapersons that both paper and online lottery would be introduced.

Though the Meghalaya Lottery Rules 2019 have been approved which will pave the way for running the state lottery, Sangma said that the taxation department will work out on the process of operating the lottery and tenders will be floated in this regard.

Meghalaya has not been able to revive the state-run lottery after an online lottery firm, which allegedly failed to pay crores of rupees to the state government, was stopped in 2005.

The Meghalaya government had introduced online lottery in 2001 and had signed an agreement with a firm, MS Associates, to run the lottery with a guaranteed Rs 3 crore for the state exchequer in the first year.

The firm belonged to former Tezpur Congress MP MK Subba.

In 2002, the government amended the agreement following opposition from various quarters, and the firm had to pay not less than Rs 12 crore a year. The firm could conduct not less than 4,000 draws a year.

Three years later, MS Associates stopped operating the online lottery and did not pay the dues. Despite several attempts, the firm is yet to pay the dues.

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General found that during the four years of operation from 2002 to 2005, the distributor was liable to pay Rs 54.08 crore according to the terms of the agreement. But the company had paid only Rs 19 crore, leaving outstanding dues of Rs 35.08 crore, the report said.

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