Guidance notes on Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be released in public domain soon," are Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's latest words on one of India's most ambitious economic reforms in 70 years.
Jaitley added, "the GST Council has received reports from sixteen out of the eighteen sectoral groups as approved by the Council in its 14th meeting held in May this year; based on the inputs received, the GST Law Committee comprising of officers of the Central and State Governments have drafted guidance notes which will be released in public domain."
GST, harped to be the most complex tax reforms of its kind, had given everyone jitters even before it was rolled out. Even after its launch, many are not aware of the tax prerequisites.
To lessen the discomfort of taxpayers and industry players, Jaitley has asked each sectoral group to obtain feedback from the trade and industry, and also hold meetings with the various stakeholders and various Joint Secretary level nodal officers from different ministries.
Based on the evaluation received, the sectoral groups have prepared their reports, basis which, the Law Committee has finalised Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on eight sectors. These FAQs have already been released in public domain.
These eighteen sectoral groups are banking, financial and insurance sector, telecommunication, exports including EOUs and SEZs, IT/ITES, transport and logistics, textiles and footwear, MSMEs, including job work, oil and gas, gems and jewellery, services received and provided by the Government, food processing sector, E-commerce, big infrastructure, travel and tourism, handicrafts (exports), media and entertainment, drugs, pharmaceuticals and Mining.
GST is expected to eventually boost tax receipts and provide simplicity for businesses. However, many experts are of the view that its true impact may not be felt for at least a decade due to implementation challenges. Industry players say the reform will formalise more of India's untaxed economy that would increase the efficiency of the economy but not the size of the gross domestic product (GDP).
It's been over a month to the GST launch but the brouhaha over it hasn't faded. The government has faced many criticisms over the complexity of the GST from the opposition and industry players. Critics also argue that the GST might blunt India's economic competitiveness and weaken Modi's efforts to elevate the poor.
(With inputs from PTI)