New Delhi: Center celebrated the 1st GST Day here on Sunday. Addressing the distinguished gathering Union Minister Arun Jaitley recalled the pre-GST taxation system in India was one of the most complicated tax systems in the world. Multiple taxes, multiple returns to be filed by assesees, interface with multiple tax authorities, cascading effect of taxes, rising inflation, no free flow of goods across the country, fragmented markets across the country, inter alia, were some of the tenuous issues plaguing the indirect taxation system in India. GST has persuaded people to do businesses in a transparent manner without evading taxes, Jaitley added.
Read in Hindi: जीएसटी का सर्वोत्तम नतीजा आना अभी बाकी...
“We analyzed reasons why past Governments could not implement the GST. We resolved all issues raised by the States and assured them the immunity from fall in their revenue collection. The GST Council is India's first consensus-based federal decision-making body”, the Minister said.
Listing out the remarkable successes that the GST has achieved in a short span of one year, Jaitley said that this reform has created a unified market, the cascading of taxes has been eliminated, the weighted average of total taxation basket has come down, the GST Council is working upon continuous rationalisation of tax slabs, advance direct tax payments increased as result of successful implementation of GST, among others. The Minister informed that the total indirect tax collection for a nine-month period in previous financial year post implementation of GST is about Rs.8.2 lakh crores, which if extrapolated for the whole year comes to about Rs.11 lakh crores, an 11.9% increase in indirect tax collections.
Talking about the capacity to rationalize present GST slabs, Jaitley said that the GST Council is constantly working in that direction and the desired rationalization will come with the setting in of the stability of GST system, increasing tax collections through curbing tax evasion and increasing the tax net. The Minister said that according to his projection, an increase of 1.5% in indirect tax collections is expected in the Non-oil category which will facilitate the automatic rationalization of tax slabs in near future.
In his conclusion, Jaitley said that though GST has given a lot of reasons to cheer about with its first year achievements, the best of GST in terms of its contribution to the society is yet to come.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for Railways, Coal, Finance and Corporate Affairs, Piyush Goyal said that this reform has put an end to the illegal activities like tax evasion by simplifying the tax administration and bringing a transformation in the culture among trade and industry in the country towards faithful payment of indirect taxes.
Terming GST as a Game changer for small businesses, Goyal said that enterprises having a turnover of Rs.20 lakhs are exempted from GST and those with a turnover upto Rs.1 crore have to pay 1% tax. In the coming monsoon session the Government is proposing to bring an amendment to extend this limit to businesses with Rs.1.5 crores turnover, he informed.
Speaking on the reduction of tax slabs under GST, Goyal clarified that the different tax slabs have been decided after due deliberations in the GST Council, keeping in mind the socio-economic make up of this country.
On the occasion, Finance Secretary Dr. Hasmukh Adhia said that the tax reform has hardly had any adverse impact on inflation and revenue collection, and the GST has stabilized within a short period of one year.
Backing his argument with figures, Dr. Adhia informed that there has been an indirect tax collection of Rs.89,885 crores averagely per month in the last nine months. Further, in April Rs.1.03 lakh crores, Rs.94,016 crores in May, Rs.95,610 crores in June show that GST has settled in well, he said.