As the Goods and Service Tax bill clears its way with a thumping majority in the Rajya Sabha, the Indian Inc. has responded positively on the move where several corporate heads said the bills passage would ‘ease’ doing business in the country.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday moved that the GST Bill – The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-second Amendment) Bill, 2014 be discussed and passed in Rajya Sabha. The discussion on the GST bill came after months of discussions between the ruling party and the opposition – with both sides meeting multiple times to negotiate amendments.
Here is what some of the business tycoons in the country think about the GST bill:
Rajesh Agarwal, Co-Founder, Micromax Informatics
“We welcome the clearance of GST Bill in the Upper House and would like to congratulate the Government and the Opposition for constructively working hard towards building the consensus on the same for greater good of India. This is a historic landmark in the country’s taxation history as it makes the country one unified market and will bring uniformity to the structure. While we understand the nitty-gritties of the GST Bill, it is too early for us to discuss the real impact on the mobile ecosystem but it will definitely make the tax structure more transparent and less complex. We hope that the government will work together with the industries to create a strong draft of the bill.”
Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India
“I am pleased that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha today. It is a positive development and I hope the Government will implement this long pending reform by April 1, 2017. The Government’s idea of a single tax regime is crucial to improve ease of doing business in India and address the ambiguities of the current indirect tax landscape, proving beneficial for the economy, at large.”
Aditya Gupta,Founder The Furniture Republic (TFR)
“While the actual tangible benefits may take a couple of years to trickle down, the “meaning” of this positive step is important in the immediate context also. It signifies the ability to cross political challenges in creating long term impact reform. The “signal” that goes out to the global community of investors is also of crucial importance.”
K Ganesh, Promoter of BigBasket, Housejoy, Portea
“The passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the Rajya Sabha is a progressive measure as it can facilitate seamless movement of goods across inter-state borders enabling better efficiency and spurring growth of the (eCommerce) sector. However, like every regulation, it needs to be implemented correctly, and should not make lives of eCommerce players even more complicated by burdening them with more administrative hassles.”
Bipin Sapra, Tax Partner, Telecom Practice, EY
“While the telecom service will become costlier as the rate of GST will be higher than the present service tax, a lot of cost will also accrue on account of difficult place of supply rules, decentralized and multiple compliances and credit blockages. The law, procedures and administration mechanisms need to be simplified to allow the prices of the mobile service to be low in the hands of the consumer.”
Narendra Bansal, Chairman & Managing Director of Intex Technologies (India) Ltd
“Finally India gets united, which was living in a legacy of almost 30 different markets within the country. We were saddled with a plethora of diverse state-level taxes and levies of around 25-30% – or even higher in the case of some sectors. GST will ensure India finally emerges as one common market with an approximate tax rate of around 18%, with no double taxation and no cascading effect of multiple levies.
Being a manufacturing entity, Intex Technologies stands to benefit from a uniform tax regime because this will boost operational efficiencies, increase cost savings and make products more competitive. This will help in a major way to simplify the way we do business and will boost government initiatives on “ease of doing business in India”. The world will now recognise India’s potential and the government’s willingness to take bold steps to boost the economy.
As 1.3 billion consumers across India benefit from lower prices, GST will spur higher consumption and increase the tax base through better compliance with the held of information technology enablement. In the long run, these factors will raise India’s GDP growth by 1 or 2 points, generating millions of new jobs and driving greater prosperity.
I wish all the success to the Indian government for the biggest reform after Independence.”
Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI
“The passing of the GST Bill is a major turning point in India’s history driven by the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley, to support the growth of businesses in the country. The industry welcomes and celebrates this iconic reform, while urging the government to ensure that the rate applied for the telecom services should be no more than the existing 15% to meet the government’s vision of a connected digital India and ensuring affordable services. This paradigm shift in India’s indirect tax regime must play an enabling role in the growth of key sectors like telecommunications. There are certain aspects relevant for the telecom sector that would need to be considered by the policy makers while finalising the GST legislation. We look forward to our continued engagement with the committee and working with them to make the implementation seamless, transformation meaningful and optimal.”
Ashish Goel, CEO and Co-founder at Urban Ladder
“Introduction of GST will be a huge step by the government in backing it’s promise of ease of doing business. As a consumer e-commerce brand, our focus is on building a seamless supply chain and logistics network that helps us fulfil customer orders in different parts of the country. GST will help create a single unified market across India and allow free movement and supply of goods in every part of the country. Additionally, it will also eliminate the cascading effect of taxes on customers which will bring efficiency in product costs. Overall, GST is going to be a game changer for most industries and especially for e-commerce.”
Rajeev Dimri, Leader, Indirect Tax, BMR & Associates LLP
“Further to discussion with various stake holders, the Government has recently circulated official amendments to the GST Bill. The key amendments include dropping of 1 per cent additional tax which was earlier proposed to be applied on the inter-state supplies. The additional tax would have distorted the GST design and led to cascading of taxes, there by negating the potential benefits of the GST structure. Elimination of this tax would enable businesses to structure their operations based on commercial imperatives rather than being guided by the tax environment. The proposed amendments suggest that the Parliament would now be necessarily required to legislate on providing compensation to the States for any loss of revenues, thereby, giving the compensation mechanism a statutory backing. It has also been made obligatory for the GST council to develop a mechanism for addressing disputes between various Governments arising out of the recommendations of the GST council. The proposed amendments are likely to make the GST design and policy mechanism robust and efficient.”
Adi Godrej, Chairman of Godrej Group
In an interview to CNBC, Godrej said:
“The GST will be an extremely good economic development for the country. It has been grossly under estimated in the country. So, first of all, it will add 1.50 to 2 percentage points to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth of the country. It will start almost immediately from the April 1st, higher growth rate for the country. The reason being indirect tax evasion will almost come to an end because under the GST regime, it is not possible to evade taxes and get away with it. The other very important factor to my mind is a lot of direct tax evasion in our country is because of indirect tax evasion. Once indirect tax evasion comes to a very low level, direct tax evasion will also come along. Government revenues could rise and in the long-term government could reduce the rates of the GST quite considerably. However, immediately there will be a relief of around 5 percentage points on taxation on FMCG. It will be similar on almost all goods that go directly to consumers. So, there will be a tremendous benefit. Consumption will go up, production will go up, investment into production will go up, so this is a great development. To my mind it is the biggest economic reform after the liberalisation of 1991.”
Naushad Forbes, CII president
“While government has left no stone unturned to seek a consensus, the willingness and maturity of the key opposition party in terms of understanding the issues and straightening out the differences is indeed praiseworthy. Industry can now think of ‘One India’, which was truly pursued by all political parties in true letter and spirit, and hopefully the Bill will see the light of the day tomorrow.”
“From the consumer point of view, the biggest advantage would be in terms of a reduction in the overall tax burden on goods, which is currently estimated at 25 to 30 per cent. Introduction of GST would make Indian products competitive in the domestic and international markets. Studies show that this would instantly spur economic growth.”
Mr. Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES BANK and Chairman, YES Institute
“The Government has taken a giant economic leap by passing the GST Bill. In one bold move, this will unify India’s tax architecture, make manufacturing efficient, and boost Ease of Doing Business, thus ushering a virtuous growth cycle in India for several decades up to 2050. Implementation of GST in one sweep will lead to efficient allocation of resources, smoothen supply disruptions, harness inflation, aid tax buoyancy and improve compliance, thereby reinforcing conviction in ‘Believe in India’.”
Bharat Goenka, Co-Founder and MD, Tally Solutions
“GST has all the ingredients to be Great. One of the greatest benefits of GST is that it is built ground up as a technology-enabled-tax-system which allows for extraordinary traceability. Being technology led, it has the potential to spiral upwards the trust deficit, rather than spiral downwards. However, one of the major drawback or the most critical cause of potential failure of GST will be in the transference of responsibility of tax compliance and remittance to the customers to make them eligible for input credit. This would create trust deficit in businesses, extended credit cycles choking working capital, and increase complexities in the businesses.
The reasoning of the Government is: people are today colluding (albeit in small percentages) to fraudulently take input credit when it is not due. Therefore, it is only fair to put this risk back on the citizen. It also reasons that because this is a small percentage, which will keep declining due to self-correction by citizens, it is not a ‘great burden’ – that is, the ‘business risk’ is small enough to be manageable. With the framing of this law, the Government hopes that the market will self-weed out the bad eggs. While in theory this is fine, not understanding the cascading consequences of doing this in practice ,and the mayhem it will create is an alarming concern.
With the near ubiquity of Aadhaar, and the passage of the Aadhaar Bill, the Government must mandate that all GST registrations are traceable to individuals based on their Aadhaar identity. Now, the ability to repeatedly create phantom organizations which allow credit to be taken without correspondent payment will rapidly evaporate. And, of course, the sheer traceability of the individuals, and strong public actions showcased for deterrence, will now become effective.”
Atul Jain, COO Smart Devices
The implementation of a unified GST in India, will be one of the most significant reforms introduced in recent times. We believe that it will bring in much needed transparency in the taxation norms and a have an overall positive impact on the Indian economy. We at LeEco are still in a startup phase in India and therefore are very appreciative of the long term cost benefits that it will accrue to our Indian operations. It will certainly ease our cost burden of logistics and benefits of reduced taxation can be passed on to our end consumers.
Sachin Menon, Partner and Head, Indirect tax at KPMG
As any other service sector the telecom sector will also will have to pay 3 to 5% higher taxes in GST regime. However, in the positive all the non-creditable state taxes become creditable under GST regime would moderate the increased tax burden. If any of the services that should find place in the merit rate of 12% GST, the first in that list will be telecom services. It is the only service that is used by majority of the common man and if the cost of such service goes up it will have political implication as far as the electorate is concerned. The telecom industry will have a challenge to determine as to which state the service is provided so that they deposit the taxes in the right state. The place of supply rules differs from service to service, the IT systems need to be configured to capture the essence of place of supply rules.
Rajat Wahi, Partner and Head, Consumer Markets, KPMG
The introduction of GST would positively impact the entire value chain of the consumer markets sector. A majority of consumer companies which are looking to rationalise their supply chain cost will benefit from a uniform inter-state GST which will ease the movement of goods across states, encourage business expansion and facilitate easy procurement. The manufacturers and retailers stand to benefit with GST implementation, in terms of reducing their supply chain logistics costs by optimising and reducing their warehouses in fewer states. This would help them achieve supply chain optimization and lower costs incurred in logistics and storage. The consumers are expected to derive benefits in the form of reduced expenses as the goods are expected to become cheaper owing to companies passing on the cost and efficiency savings to the consumers. Also, the provision of availing benefit of input tax credit would enable the businesses to reduce the prices further and pass on some to consumers and keep some for improving their margins.
Santosh Dalvi, Partner, Indirect Tax, KPMG
The mobile handset Industry wants continuation of the differential duty structure that will make imported handset more expensive than manufacturing it locally thereby moving ahead with the make in India policy. Handset makers believes that uniform rate of GST is expected to improve inventory management and reduce the effective tax cost which can be passed to the ultimate consumer by way of reduction in product price.
Brotin Banerjee, MD & CEO, Tata Housing
The Goods and Services Tax is likely to be a game changer for the real estate industry, which is currently facing issues of multiple taxation amounting to over 25 percent in indirect taxes. With the uniform tax, developers will have free input credits on GST paid for services and goods purchased by them which will reduce cost and can be passed as reduction to buyers.
It will benefit real estate sector by ensuring a uniform tax structure and improve tax compliance by developers. It looks at bringing in greater transparency for the sector and may minimize unscrupulous transactions. GST will have a cascading effect for the homebuyers, as developers with more margins in their hands will be able to restructure the cost of the products in favour of consumers.”
Jason Kothari, CEO, Housing.com
The GST Bill, which was passed in the Rajya Sabha and is being touted as India’s biggest tax reform, has been a long-standing request of the real estate sector that has been plagued by multiple layers of taxation. While the immediate benefits of the GST are expected to go to segments like logistics and warehousing, and retail – residential real estate, in the long term, should benefit from an unified tax regime, a lesser tax burden on construction materials like cement, steel, etc. This, in turn, can lead to lower construction costs for developers, who can pass on the price benefit to home buyers. The tangible benefits for the home buyer will also depend on the final rate of GST. If the rate is higher than the taxes being paid currently, it could increase the cost of an under-construction flat. However, the GST’s impact on creating a transparent taxation system and boosting business sentiments is very positive.
Rohit Gera, MD, Gera Developments and VP, CREDAI – Pune Metro
The passing of the GST related amendments is an extremely welcome step. This will help in terms of ease of doing business in the country. We hope that the final bill takes care of the home buyers and does not raise the cost of homes by raising the tax incidence on homes. Stamp duty will continue and there is already double taxation on this. The first time stamp duty is paid on land, then the flat buyers pay Stamp duty on the flat without any credit for the land payment. Without addressing the needs of home buyers the government’s desire of housing for all will not be met.
GV Kumar, Founder, CEO & Managing Director, XIUS
The adoption of GST is certainly a bold step after the economic liberalization and will follow it in working wonders for the overall economic development of our nation. The telecom sector, particularly from the Network Services perspective, is also expected to benefit under a uniform tax regime since streamlining of resources and financial planning can be managed in a more efficient way under GST. It will also outdo the multiple taxes applicable on the telecom sector and will help in driving further the interests of internet services for the common man.