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Last updated: 26 Jun, 2018  

gst-THMB.jpg One year of GST

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Bikky Khosla | 26 Jun, 2018

The first anniversary of rollout of Goods and Services Tax is approaching. It all started way back in 1986, when the then finance minister VP Singh put forward a Budget proposal for overhauling the excise taxation structure, and after three decades, GST was finally rolled out on July 1, 2017. While the Government celebrated the occasion in a grand manner, businesses across the country were worried that the reform may open up a Pandora's Box of uncertainties. A long year has passed since then.

The journey over the past one year has been a mixed bag. The new tax regime has successfully created a simplified tax regime, and from a macroeconomic perspective it is expected that our GDP – after a marginal reduction in the initial phase—will get a big boost due to the implementation. IIP showed average growth of 5% from July 2017 to January 2018. Revenue collections surpassed the Rs1 lakh crore-mark for the first time in April 2018. Also, with the new tax regime, many businesses has successfully created values across their procurement, manufacturing and logistics.

However, one must admit that the initial few months of the implementation was full of confusion. In fact, some challenges still exist. With GST implementation, industry expected a smooth compliance mechanism, but it experienced lots of difficulty in accessing the GSTN system. The E-way bill experience was also similar. Refund under GST has remained one big concern – while traders and exporters expected a smooth digital experience and speedy refunds, their funds remained blocked, particularly in the initial months, leading to agony.

But efforts by the government deserve praise. It has stepped in time and again to address the transition challenges, be it by extending return-filing deadlines or by deferring certain aspects of the new tax law. Concerns of the SME sector have been paid attention. Special refund drive were organised to address the refund worries. Currently, the Centre is also working on a proposal to consolidate all periodical returns into a single return. No doubt, challenges still persist, but it is good to see that the government has been proactive in resolving them.

I invite your opinions.

 
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