On Tuesday, as the restaurants and hotels in Bengaluru were observing a day's strike over the GST rates proposed for the sector, revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia addressed a town hall meeting. The bureaucrat dispelled rumours of deferring the implementation schedule.
"We are anxious for a speedy rollout. There is no compromise on the date," he said.
He has said there are many benefits of the new indirect tax regime apart from lower taxes. "GST will lead to ease of doing business, allow compliance with its various provisions, bring in uniformity of different tax laws and rules and transfer of input tax credit," IANS quoted him as saying.
The strike call given by the Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels' Association (BBHA) saw around 2,000 small restaurants, eateries and food-joints remaining closed to protest against the proposed GST rates (18 percent for air-conditioned hotels and those with liquor licence, and 12 percent for non air-conditioned ones).
"About 70 per cent of our 3,000 members have shut down their hotels and restaurants in protest against the new GST regime, in which we have been put under the 12 per cent and 18 per cent tax rates as against 4 per cent composition tax we pay currently," BBHA president Chandrasekhar Hebbar was quoted as saying by IANS.
"The higher taxes will affect customers as well as our business. We will have no option but pass on a part of the hike burden to customers and absorb the rest of it," he added.
GST Twitter handle
Launched last Sunday, the government's GST Twitter handle @askGST_GoI is rather subdued but could gain momentum as the nation gets closer to the D-Day, July 1, 2017.
As of Wednesday 12.30 pm, it had given 94 replies to queries on issues like registration for traders, those operation from special economic zones, input tax credit and the unfinished agenda (rates for gold, footwear, biscuits, textiles and readymade garments.
The Modi government, known for leveraging social media in governance, could find the platform handy in the coming weeks and months, given that it is the most-significant indirect tax reform.
"The Department of Revenue has opened a new Twitter Handle @askGST_GoI to invite queries from all taxpayers on GST," a finance ministry statement here said.
"All taxpayers and other stakeholders are welcome to direct their queries related to GST on the said twitter handle for early resolution and clarification," it added.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council will be meeting on June 3 and 4 to decide on the tax rates for gold, footwear, biscuits, textiles and readymade garments.