GST Might Have Flaws, But We Cannot Just Damn It Now: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

14 Oct 2019 1:20 PM GMT
GST Might Have Flaws, But We Cannot Just Damn It Now: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, October 11, said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) might have flaws but it is the “kanoon (law) of the country”.

“We just can’t damn GST now. It has been passed in Parliament and in all state assemblies. It might have flaws, it might probably give you difficulties but I’m sorry, it’s the ‘kanoon’ of the country now,” FM Sitharaman said, addressing chartered accountants, company secretaries and other stakeholders in the financial sector.

The Finance Minister’s statement was in response to a person who “derided” the GST during an interaction with businessmen, entrepreneurs and Chartered Accountants in Pune. She admitted that GST may have some flaws in its present form and asked tax professionals not to curse it and sought their help to make it better.

“Suddenly we cannot say, what a goddamn structure is this (Goods & Service Tax). I wished from day one that it met with your satisfaction but I am sorry that it did not,” Sitharaman said.

Later, Sitharaman took to Twitter to establish that a participant, BM Sharma, from the audience ridiculed the GST.

BM Sharma, a member of the Cost Accountants Association explained the reason behind his statement. “I said that the objective of GST was to ease of doing business, reduce tax complexities, rationalise 13 taxes, and reduce litigation and corruption. But the same is not being achieved due to several problems and industries and professionals are complaining now,” he said.

As Sharma suggested some solutions, the minister asked him to meet her in Delhi.

Earlier during the presser, when asked about the low GST collections, the minister attributed it to 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,” FM Sitharaman said.

She also said that the revenue secretary has already formed a committee to identify where the collection has not been adequate. “We have some 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.


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