Bikky Khosla | 25 Jun, 2019
The 35th GST Council meet, held in New Delhi last week under
the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proved a mixed
bag. It did not deliver any big surprises, but introduced some minor changes
only to the existing structure and procedures under the GST. These measures are
no doubt positive, but compared to a widespread expectation that the council
would consider a significant cut in tax rates across the board, they failed to
cheer economy watchers.
First, the Council
simplified the process of GST registration. Now, a person can register
himself on the GSTN portal by applying online just using his Aadhar Card number.
Second, the Council extended the date for the filing of annual GST returns for
2017-18 fiscal by two months till August 30, 2019. Third, the Council approved
the rollout of a single-return filing system for all by January 1, 2020. These
decisions are welcome.
In the earlier system, one required to
submit various documents in physical and scan form. Now the Aadhar based registration
will help do away with this cumbersome process. Also, there was a demand
from several quarters of the industry for extension of the due date for annual GST returns and it is
good to see that the Council paid heed to this demand. And, the decision for single-return
filing system would ease
Another notable decision taken by the council was the extension
of the tenure of the National Anti-Profiteering Authority by two years. It also
decided to increase the quantum of penalty that could be imposed by the
authority on profiteering companies. This move seeks to ensure passing on of the
benefit of tax cuts to consumers, but many feel the move is against the free
market spirit. The authority must ensure that non-defaulters never suffer.
Otherwise, it will send a "wrong signal" to the industry.
I invite your