New Delhi, July 6, 2017

Economy is now integrated into a single market, says Finance Minister

Nearly a week after the introduction of the new indirect tax regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax has been smooth, without causing much disruption.

“The economy has not been disrupted and we don’t expect any disruption ahead,” he said, refuting critics who had thought that the GST rollout would impact trade and industry.

Despite concerns over a lack of preparedness by assessees, GST was implemented from July 1. The Finance Ministry has been closely monitoring its rollout since then. The Ministry is also holding Masterclasses or sessions to be conducted over six days clarifying doubts over the new tax.

Taking a dig at the Congress, the Finance Minister said that introduction of GST was in the Party’s election manifestos and Budget since 2006, but at the last moment it got “nervous” and did flip-flops as it was not sure if the new tax regime would pay off.

Addressing a Delhi BJP event, Jaitley also welcomed the passage of the Constitutional Amendment Bill for GST by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and said this will lead to economic integration of the country. The State Assembly passed the GST Bill on Wednesday and expects to roll out the levy over the next few days after the Act gets Presidential assent.

“The whole country is now a single market after 70 years of Independence. GST will benefit the industry and also consumers in Jammu and Kashmir,” Jaitley said, noting that there is now uniformity of taxes and rates amongst the Centre and States. “As many as 17 taxes and 23 cesses have been subsumed under GST,” he said.

At another event, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia on Day-1 of the GST Ki Masterclass said that States can continue to impose some local body taxes such as stamp duty and registration charges, vehicle tax, electricity duty on sale of power, tax on potable alcohol and entertainment tax.

Five petroleum products including petroleum and natural gas will also attract excise duty and value added tax, he said.
Plea to businesses

He also urged businesses to register for GST as and when their annual turnover crosses the threshold of Rs.20 lakh. “Businesses that are not registered within 30 days (of reaching the turnover) will not be allowed to continue their business,” he said.

[The Hindu Business Line]