oppn parties Welcome Move To Seek Suggestions For Systemic Overhaul Of GST

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
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Welcome Move To Seek Suggestions For Systemic Overhaul Of GST

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.

The government has decided to set up a 12-member committee to suggest a complete overhaul of the GST system. This was long overdue. The GST was applied in haste when it was still work in progress. There were several flaws and shortcomings that crept in. Some major ones have been taken care of in the subsequent meetings of the GST Council, but other more serious ones have been discovered through the actual application of the tax regime over the years. These shortcomings have allowed unscrupulous businessmen to avoid compliance, evade taxes and even make use of the input tax benefit to commit serious fraud by raising false bills or use the inverted duty structure to pay less than due.

Hence, the decision to set up the committee is welcome. The committee needs to suggest a complete systemic overhaul of the GST regime through feedback from all the stakeholders. Since the GST has replaced a plethora of taxes, it has become the only source of revenue for both the Centre and the states, except for a few sectors. Hence, leakages have a serious effect on revenue generation and thus prevent governments from spending on nation-building.

The loopholes need to be plugged. Compliance needs to be improved by making the system simpler. Reporting has been made much simpler than it was when the system was introduced but if there is scope, it should be further simplified to ease the burden on small traders. Cross-platform tax structure (especially import duties) and rates need to be revisited to do away with the incentive to juggle bills provided by the difference in rates.

Although the system looks foolproof as both purchase and sales invoices need to be uploaded facilitating cross verification and easier detection of fraud, umpteen cases of taking undue benefit of input tax by raising false bills have come to light. The government has lost crores due to this. This is one area where the committee needs to suggest tighter monitoring through set procedures and red flags must be inbuilt in the system to detect such fraud.

No system can be absolutely foolproof as there always be ingenious minds who will find a loophole. But the system should be made so robust that such loopholes can be identified when the first person takes advantage of it and plugged before any serious leakage. That should be where the committee should apply its mind and come up with strong suggestions.