Nirmala Sitharaman seeks help of experts to mend GST ‘flaws’
Conceding that GST may have some flaws in its present form, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday asked tax professionals not to condemn it and sought their help to improve the system instead.
The minister was replying to concerns raised by taxation industry professionals here, who said the industry was “cursing” the government over how the GST was implemented.
Billed as the biggest reform in indirect taxation, the goods & services tax, which does away with a host of levies from the federal to the local government levels, was implemented in July 2017.
“After a long time, many parties in Parliament and in state assemblies worked together and came up with the Act. I know you are saying this based on your experiences but suddenly we cannot call ‘what a goddamn structure it is’,” the minister said.
She interacted with people from industries, chartered accountants, company secretaries and many other stakeholders in the financial sector.
Stating that it has been only two years since GST was implemented, she said she would have wished the new structure was satisfactory from day one.
She also said she wants all stakeholders to give some solutions for better compliance. “We cannot damn it. It might have flaws, it might probably give you difficulties but I am sorry, it is the law of the land,” she added.
Earlier , when asked about the low GST collections, minister attributed it the difficulties due to weather-related disasters and also poor compliance. “Yes, GST collection in some areas has not been strong enough. Various districts in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Himachal, and Uttarakhand were flooded and we had to postpone filing returns from these areas,” she said. She also said the revenue secretary has already formed a committee to identify where collection has been below expected. “We have reports on how in some cases evasion has happened. The committee will look into how this can be plugged and if there has been any under-invoicing,” she said.