Govt hits fast forward on GST reforms, gives new panel 15 days for report
The Centre on Thursday set up a committee to quickly come up with a list of changes in law and procedures needed to augment Goods and Services Tax receipts. The move comes days after the GST collections dived to a 19-month low of Rs 92,000 crore in September.The dip coincided with an economic slowdown triggered by very low consumer demand. But the decision to set up the committee with a directive to give its first report within 15 days indicates the government assessment that systemic changes in the GST architecture could help.
It also suggests that the government is open to overhaul the taxation system introduced in July 2017. It was then India’s largest and first indirect tax reform.
But there has been mounting concern within the government after GST collection in September this year fell 2.67% to Rs 91,916 crore compared to the same period last year.
The collection was pegged as the lowest since February 2018. According to government data, the gross monthly collection slipped below Rs 1 lakh crore for the two consecutive months. The tax collection in August 2019 was Rs 98,202 crore.
An order issued by the GST Council Secretariat told the committee to “consider a wide range of reforms”.
A six-point agenda for the committee asks officials to come up with recommendations to carry out systemic changes in GST including checks and balances to prevent misuse, measures to improve voluntary compliance, policy measures and relevant changes needed in the law, measures for expansion of tax base, improved compliance monitoring and anti-evasion measures using better data analytics and better administrative coordination.
The committee will have a top tax officials from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. But if officials concerned from other states want to join the brainstorming effort, the GST Council Secretariat has indicated it has an open mind.