The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed an amendment bill that seeks to replace an ordinance in which tax rates on motor vehicles was hiked to a maximum of 25 per cent under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
The House took up for discussion the GST (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2017 amid din as the Congress and Trinamool Congress members raised slogans and banners protesting against union minister Anant Kumar Hegde’s “amend the Constitution” remarks.
Responding to the contention of opposition members who took part in the debate, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that change in the GST rates was a “natural” process and linked to the rise in tax collection.
The government had issued an ordinance in September to increase cess on motor vehicles,including large cars and sports utility vehicles, from 15 per cent to 25 per cent.
The Cabinet had earlier cleared the bill that seeks to replace the ordinance. IANS
No doubt the NDA government in the center brought about remarkable changes in the market and the fiscal policy. One of those includes GST with a strong backup of the digital technology. No one would disagree that this will contribute immensely to the nation building and boosting its economy. Many world economists are lauding the India’s move in this direction. Well, for all such dramatic changes our techno-savvy PM Modi’s relentless dedication and innovation is highly praiseworthy.
But, however, there are “murmurs of dissatisfaction” among the middle-class traders these days. The displeasure expressed by the business community is all about the government’s rigid diktat for the GST filing. The administration is apparently putting the hard squeeze on the middle and upper middle class traders and entrepreneurs to file GST “before 20th of each month”. In case of a delay, the penalty of Rs 50/- per day is slapped which is a huge disappointment. How on earth does the government expect each trader to have the computer knowledge? Most of the small traders have not yet touched the desktop. So, they all rush to the nearby tax professionals to do the job. Just imagine how a few tax experts in the town match up to the countless GST payers. Can ten thousands sick patients be treated by one single doctor in a short span of time? This is totally impractical.
Each tax expert has to file the return for the minimum 300 to 800 clients per month and that number is increasing by leaps and bounds. The traders are required to keep the detail account of all sales and purchases throughout the month for which they have to bear a good deal of incidental expenditures. Many erroneous entries are usually made in the filing of GST, but once the file submitted that can’t be revised. Usually, the last two days of the GST filing is a nightmare. Because the site is clogged due to heavy traffic. Does the government want the small traders being harassed and bugged out thus? Mere imposing the hard regulations will never yield the positive result.
There is another shocker of this government. It has made it mandatory for tax payers to file the income tax return by 31st of July. In case of the delay, the fine of Rs. 5000/- per file is being imposed. This is indeed a cruel imposition that might just bruise the confidence of obedient tax payers. Given the literacy rate and very poor “professionalism” in India, such hard decrees by the government only make the citizens more annoyed than happy. Here I intensely doubt if it is the BJP government that wishes so much hardship upon the public. Is it not trusting 1.25 billion Indians, as touted by our astute PM Modi, who all have been standing for him through thick and thin? I think the finance ministry immediately needs some overhauling for the interest of the general public.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.