The stabilisation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has presented an opportunity to the government to further rationalise the structure of the indirect tax regime and increase its tax base, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday. The GST regime has stabilised in “a much shorter period” in India compared to other countries, he added.
“GST has brought about an entire change in the taxability structure of indirect taxes in the entire country. Compared to what’s happened in various parts of the world, it has stabilised in a much shorter period in India and therefore, it gives us an opportunity in the periods to come to increase its base and rationalise its structure as it continues to evolve,” Jaitley said at the CBEC’s investiture ceremony and International Customs Day celebration.
Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia also commended the officers of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) for smooth implementation of the GST regime. “It’s the wonderful work that has been done by them over the last two years because of which GST has been implemented very smoothly. It is the hard work, intelligence and dedication of the members of the IRS, CBEC that it is possible. It’s a community of 4,000 members, working with each other to make impossible things possible and they have really indeed performed really well and that has been exemplified by success in GST,” he said.
Since the finalisation of GST rates in five tax slabs of zero, 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent in June last year, the GST Council has carried out five rounds of rate cuts so far. In its November meeting, the Council had slashed rates on over 200 items, while in the latest meeting held on January 18, the Council approved rate cuts and clarifications for about 29 goods and 54 categories of services.
The GST revenue collections, which had been sliding for last two months, rebounded in December to Rs 86,703 crore (till January 24) after touching the lowest level of Rs 80,808 crore for November. Though the December collections still remained 4.7 per cent below the monthly target of Rs 91,000 crore and 7.8 per cent lower than Rs 94,063 crore collected for July (as on August 31), the rise in GST revenue assumed significance as it was for the first full month after the rate cut on over 200 items, effective from November 15.