oppn parties One Year Of GST: Critics Must Eat Their Words

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
One Year Of GST: Critics Must Eat Their Words

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
It is one year since the landmark reform GST was introduced in India to subsume 17 taxes and 23 cesses. It was called the “good and simple tax” by PM Modi and was expected to bring a plethora of benefits to the economy and the countrymen. Although it was introduced hastily without the groundwork required to launch such a huge reform having been completed, it needs to be stressed that no tax structure can be fine tuned to be absolutely glitch-free before its launch. It is only after some months – or even years – of being in place that tax systems can be made stable. If we keep that in mind, GST is a huge success.

It also needs to be kept in mind that since most state levies were being subsumed in GST, revenue loss after its implementation would have meant that the states would have suffered and would have called for going back to the old system. Hence, the initial rates were kept high to make them revenue-neutral. Now that compliance has improved (and will improve further as simplification of the filing and reporting process goes on) and collections have surpassed expectations, we can expect rates to be lowered. Despite the prime minister saying that “milk and Mercedes cannot be taxed at the same rate,” we can also expect rationalization of the tax slabs. At present, there are six slabs of 0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28% and 28% plus cess. In future, we can hope for just four slabs.

Since the states have gained from the implementation of GST, it should now be impressed upon them that it is necessary to bring petroleum, alcohol, real estate and electricity duty under the net. The Centre should also think of doing away with exemptions and bring all goods and services under GST. Keeping products and services away from any tax system or granting exemptions to some, leaves room for tax avoidance. Since invoice matching is going to be introduced from September 2018, ideally all goods and services must be brought under the net.

It is heartening that the e-way bill system has been implemented without glitches. It will go a long way in reducing corruption at state border and ensure faster movement of goods. Now, the GST Council must gear up to rectify the remaining administrative problems. The problems might even multiply once invoice matching starts. So the council must ensure that the backend remains robust and glitches do not wash away the gains of the last 12 months.