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October 17, 2017

GST: A system of negatives and positives to roll out tonight


Newsroom24x7 Staff

New Delhi: Goods and Services Tax (GST), being described as an historic tax reform, will come into effect from midnight on 1 July, 2017.

GST will completely transform the Indirect Taxation landscape in the country involving both the Central and State levies. In a departure from the normal practice, GST will be administered together by the Centre and States.

To commemorate the historic occasion, a function will be held in the Central Hall of Parliament on the mid-night of 30th June and 1 July, 2017. The event will be attended by the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha and Union Finance Minister among other dignitaries.

GST has two sides – the positive and the negative

Positive side

GST will subsume all taxes, widen the tax base, prevent the cascading effect of taxes and capture most commercial transactions.

Negative side or imperfections

The GST demerits concessional and standard rate. Instead there are more than half a dozen rates. It brings in a diarchy in tax administration – with one set of tax payees under the State and one under the Central Government. Under the federal system, who or which government – Centre or the State – will be assigned what task will be like a lottery. The number of returns to be filed would be 3 per month, which sums up to 12 x 3 = 36. Then there will be 1 annual return taking the total to 37. If one has business in multiple states and multiple regions, filing returns would be a mind boggling exercise and that too at huge cost of compliance. Against this, all that was required was a quarterly or half-yearly return. The anti-profiteering provision and authority is being viewed as an abomination, which is against market economics and commerce. Matters also would be worst confounded as the GST Network is not working, the call centers are down and there is mayhem before the rollout at midnight tonight. The spirit backed with the deafening slogan “one nation, one tax” also has been compromised by keeping Jammu and Kashmir out of the new tax regime.  

The opposition parties are opposing the GST . Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is currently abroad, said on twitter that the implementation of GST is a “tamasha” (farce).

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said it would bring back the dreaded “Inspector Raj”. Under the GST regime, the “Inspectors will have the power to arrest on 4 different types of offences which can lead to jail from 1 year upto 5 years,” she said, and opposing the GST arrest clause, pointed out that despite West Bengal’s opposition to this arrest clause in the GST Council, “Government of India did not pay any heed”.

GST has also left its impact on the market. Ahead of the GST rollout, Sensex today fell over 154 points and the Nifty went below 9,500 in the beginning on Friday.

Countering the opposition, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the much-awaited GST regime will end ‘Inspector Raj’, weed out black money from the system and end corruption.

 

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