Exactly 1,096 days ago, in a glittering ceremony in the Central Hall of parliament, the biggest indirect tax reform was unleashed. The goods and services tax (GST) was in the making for several years and it finally became reality. Today, the GST has completed 3 years.
The GST council, a first-of-its-kind initiative in co-operative federalism, has met 40 times since its inception, issuing 127 circulars and 21 orders.
The tax regime has managed to unify India as a single market, replacing a myriad of indirect taxes and effectively eliminating cascading taxes with a single destination-based tax regime.
But several challenges still remain - the 5-slab structure is complex.
The compliance process is cumbersome to say the least though there has been some movement to alleviate the pain that people have been feeling -- 13 different return filing forms as things currently stand.
Revenue collections growth remains below the target. In fact, not a single large state has seen its revenue grow at the required 14 percent rate so far.
In June, the GST mop-up came in at around Rs 91,000 crore, that's higher than the collection during lockdown hit months of April and May, but it is still only 91 percent of June 2019 mop-up. The pandemic has dealt a body blow to revenue with cumulative collection for the first quarter standing at over Rs 1,85,000 crore, that's a 40 percent decline compared to the year ago period.
So, what's the way forward? What are the reforms essential to fine-tune the GST regime? To discuss this, Shereen Bhan spoke to Amit Mitra finance minister of West Bengal, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, secretary of finance & revenue, Manpreet Singh Badal, finance minister of Punjab, Thomas Isaac, finance minister of Kerala, Mauvin Godinho, member of GST Council and minister of transport in Goa, TS Singh Deo, member of GST Council and minister of health in Chhattisgarh.Watch this video for details