Won’t blink on GST launch,no excuse for business not being ready: Arun Jaitley

"I strongly believe that if any state keeps out, both its traders and consumers will suffer loss", said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: June 20, 2017 8:14 pm
Arun Jaitley, jaitley, Indian army, Arun Jaitley army officers, army officers, major Gogoi, Kashmir, jammu and kashmir, Stone pelting, Ceasefire violation, Bipin rawat, indian express news He said almost all states have cleared the State GST (SGST) Act, with the exception of Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. (File Photo)

The government will not blink on rolling out the GST from July 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today, emphasising that businesses cannot give any excuse for not being ready as enough time was given to them for preparation. However, implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which will unify more than a dozen separate levies to create a single market, may result in “some disruption” and “technological glitches” initially as traders and the smallest of businesses will have to file returns online, he added.

GST, which was originally planned to be implemented from April 1 but was deferred by three months, will be launched at a grand function in the historic Central Hall of Parliament on the midnight of June 30. The biggest tax reform since Independence, which will gradually re-shape India’s business landscape by making the world’s fastest-growing major economy an easier place to do business in, would bring down barriers between 30 states and unifying the USD 2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a single market.

Jaitley said GST over the medium to long term will lead to higher revenues to Centre and states while also increasing the size of the economy and having a positive impact on the GDP. “We should be prepared that when the switchover will take place, in the short-term, there will be some challenges,” he said. “The reform step is for betterment. All reforms initially are seen as disruptive, and in the long run are seen as result yielding reform.”

Jaitley said the process of registration of existing central excise, service tax and state VAT payers in the new system was “going on well”. “It is not a very complicated process,” he said adding GST will check tax evasion and in the long run lead to rise in number of the assessees.

As many as 65 lakh assesses have already registered and more are expected to sign up. “65 lakh who have registered they did not face problem, the five who have faced problems are on Twitter,” he quipped. Ruling out deferring the rollout because of a small number of people who say businesses are not ready, he said when reforms are implemented “the first principle is you should never blink. If you blink, then you get derailed.”

“We have for the last six months saying that the date is July 1. Nobody had any business to be not ready,” he said. Jaitley said the government has already relaxed the dates for filing of initial returns and traders and businesses now have time till September 5, instead of previous August 10, for filing the returns and being ready.

“There is still two and a half months to be ready, but if  he (businessman) is still not ready, I am afraid, but he doesn’t want to be ready,” he said. Reminiscent of India’s tryst with destiny at the midnight of August 14-15, 1947, Parliament’s historic Central Hall will host an hour-long function on the intervening night of June 30-July 1 to mark the rollout of GST

Jaitley said the GST Council has arrived at tax rates on most of the commodities on the basis on “equivalence” so that incidence of tax remains at the current level.

“The tax rates that has been fixed, that will apparently lower our tax revenues. But we are hoping that even after reducing rates the revenues won’t come down because evasion would be checked in an efficient system,” he said. Asked about GST’s impact on inflation, he said when tax rates come down it also has an impact on inflation, but it would also depend on monsoon and oil prices.

“In some cases, because there are public interest involved, we have in fact brought down the tax rates. On first principle, Centre and states have suffered a revenue loss but we are hoping to make up for that loss because of more efficient system,” he said.

The anti-profiteering clause is transient and should act as a deterrent. “I hope we are not compelled to use it,” he said.

He said almost all states have cleared the State GST (SGST) Act, with the exception of Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala.

“I strongly believe that any state keeps out, both its traders and consumers will suffer loss. Because they will not get the benefit of input tax, they will have to pay tax twice and the consumers will get materials which is costlier than rest of the country. Also compensation package won’t be given to states who do not implement GST,” Jaitley said.

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  1. A
    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:54 pm
    How convenient for the FM to say that only a few are not ready for GST The fact is that hardly anyone has a clue as to how his business will be affected.Even large companies have doubts on various aspects of their business.The govt views the change as simply replacing a mul ude of taxes with one and says see how simple this is.But the problems occur in the various ground situations which have not been considered or spelt out in the regulations.There is going to be another big crises which this govt will continue to deny.Strange how the GST bill which was thwarted by Modi for 10 years because it was amti poorhas suddenly become pro poor and some kind of magic wand for the govt in raising both state and central revenues.Well I can see why Jailey is pushing for GST,he needs the extra income GST will bring in.Though I do wonder if someone applied his mind when deciding the rates. Notebooks,notepads etc used by children should be taxed at nil and not the exorbitant 18 .
    1. A
      Jun 20, 2017 at 9:32 pm
      Jaitely ji read the cons ution...we the people of india......government by the people for the people.. why this undemocratic man not accepted by people's...loser has been made to rule us. If people of india needs time that must be given .. most undemocratic move of modi to make a man on key posts of finance and home ..who lost elections in a modi wave...