Attributing the ‘tremendous amount of flexibility’ shown by GST Council in implementing the new tax regime, to some extent, to Gujarat Assembly Elections of December 2017, Chief Secretary of Gujarat J N Singh Sunday said that political decision makers, many times, are not in day-to-day contact with problems occurring at different places. Singh was speaking at a function to celebrate one year of Goods & Service Tax (GST) in the country. It was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds portfolio of Finance Department.
Singh said that the GST Council had shown tremendous flexibility while implementing GST by bringing in lots of changes in the tax structure. “To some extent, Gujarat elections is also responsible (for this),” Singh said amid laughter from the audience at an auditorium of Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA).
“No, I am slight serious. This was an election where people could see the problems. The problems occur, but many times we cannot see them because many times government and the political decision makers are not that much in contact with, day to day contact with, what is happening at different places. But (during Gujarat Elections), they (political decision makers) could see what is happening in Ahmedabad, what is happening in Surat…and they were genuine problems…and people were in day to day touch so, that also helped very substantially in solving those issues. These are genuine issues and genuine issues were solved,” Singh added.
Assembly elections of Gujarat held in December last year witnessed high profile campaigning by ruling BJP and opposition Congress. Top leaders of both the parties, Prime Minister Naredra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, had campained heavily in the state during the elections. BJP could win the elections with a narrow margin while securing 99 of the 182 assembly seats in the state.
Speaking on similar lines on the subject, Nitin Patel said that the GST Council had brought many changes and would certainly bring more benefits for the citizens after ensuring that the the entire system has been properly established.
“What is a good government? A good government is that which makes changes to a process after realising difficulties of the public while implementing the same. It’s not a rigid government,”
Patel also said that the GST council has brought many changes in last one year like changing tax slabs of various things and will certainly bring more benefits in future.
“The GST Council had never been and will never be against bringing tax benefits to the people of the country. The growth has been good. Once the system is established, once it is ensured that the governments’ income is substantial, we are definitely going to bring amendments. So, once that is done, Gujarat will take a lead to bring tax benefits to the people at GST Council,” the Deputy CM added.
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) of Gujarat Government, Arvind Agrawal said that the income of Gujarat under GST has been good and that before completion of four or five years, the state will not need compensation for the deficit in income from the Central Government. “State governments get compensation from the Central Government. Compensation will be given till five years with 14% hike every year. But, Gujarat has been playing a unique role. We have started taking less compensation from the previous year. Because, our tax collection under GST is increasing,” Agrawal said. “We are confident that at the completion of five years, we will not need any compensation.We will do such planning that by the end of fourth or fifth years (of GST implementation), compensation is not required,” Agrawal added.
The function was organised by the authorities of State GST and Central GST in Gujarat. And it was also attended by Director of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) Errol D’souza and office bearers of industry organisations like Piruz Khambatta from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Rajiv Vastupal from Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Jaimin Vasa from Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI).