On the second anniversary of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on 1 July, both present finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and former finance minister Arun Jaitley took to social media, looking back on the implementation process and promising greater simplification of the federal tax system.
“Today, we mark the second anniversary of the #GST. We are committed to greater simplification of the process. Thanking the @GST_Council, all state governments, union territories, trade and industries for their continued support," Sitharaman said on Twitter.
On a long Facebook post, Jaitley analysed the implementation and impact of GST on the tax system. “Today, the Goods and Services Tax regime enters its third year. The monumental restructuring of one of the world’s clumsiest indirect tax system was not an easy task. The challenges to implement the GST were compounded by some outlandish and exaggerated comments of the not so well-informed. It would, therefore, be only fair to look back the last two years and analyse the implementation and the impact/ consequences of the GST," Jaitley said.
GST was launched on the 1st July, 2017 in a grand ceremony held in the Central Hall of Parliament on the midnight of 30th June, 2017. Government along with partners from the trade and industry is celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of GST on 1st July 2019 where further simplification of the indirect tax system may be announced. A new return system on trial basis will be introduced from today (1 July) and on mandatory basis from 1 October, 2019. SAHAJ & SUGAM Returns for small taxpayers are also proposed to be introduced.
Jaitley in his post said after introduction of GST, the assessee base in the last two years has increased by 84%. “The number of assessees covered by the GST were around 65 lakh. Today, they are at 1.20 crores," he said.
Jaitley said 20 states are independently showing more than a 14% increase in their revenues and the compensation fund in their case is not necessary after the first five years when their revenues are protected under law.
Denouncing the critics who argued for a single slab GST, Jaitley said they must realise that a single slab is possible only in extremely affluent countries where there are no poor people. “It would be inequitable to apply a single rate in countries where there are a large number of people below the poverty line," he added.