Soon after the goods and services tax (GST) bill got the assent in Rajya Sabha, Indian business leaders poured in messages of advice and congratulations.
“We congratulate the government on this significant milestone. In the process of implementing GST through legislations, we must collectively ensure there is no drifting away from the intent of the bill and the cornerstone principles of this Government in improving Ease of Doing Business and reduced tax related litigation in India,” said Abidali Z Neemuchwala, CEO of Wipro.
Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO of ICICI Bank, the country’s biggest private lender, said the bill signals the government’s resolve to put in place a significant structural change. “Consumers will see lower prices in the medium term, businesses will able to operate more efficiently and the Government will see a broadening of its tax base along with ease of tax collection,” she said.
Analysts also were unequivocal in praise and said the passage would prompt companies to invest as the uncertainty had ended. “The action will now shift to the corporate world… The challenge before many is how to get ready to implement GST before April 1, 2017,” said Sachin Menon, partner and head, indirect tax at KPMG India.
Industry lobbies also chipped in. “We have to ensure that the overall tax rates do not go up, they should rather come down so that GST gets approval of the people,” said Assocham president Sunil Kanoria.
Telecom industry body COAI too asked the government to ensure that the rate applied for telecom services does not exceed the existing 15% so that companies could provide affordable services and a connected digital India.
Girish Vanvari, head of tax, KPMG in India said: “It is now time for the government and industry to come together, contribute to the consultative process, and focus on bringing out a piece of legislation that provides clarity, certainty and upholds the principles of equity”.
(With agency inputs)