The government today is celebrating the first anniversary of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi government on this day last year implemented one of the biggest tax reforms since independence in order to simplify the tax system in the country. Out of the many objectives of the GST, one of them was to bring transparency in the system and to bring an end to tax at various levels and the multiplicity faced by consumers and traders across the country. The GST was implemented in a historic midnight session of Parliament after almost all political parties and their representatives participated in several council meetings and reached a consensus. PM Modi and the then President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the GST tax implementation during the special session.

On the completion of one year of the historic reform brought into the tax system in India, Central government ministers and the BJP are celebrating the occasion. Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who is currently also handling the portfolio of Finance Ministry, on Sunday, said that GST has long-term benefits. He asked for the support of all political parties and leaders for their cooperation on GST. 

However, the Congress party which did not participate in the midnight session of the Parliament when GST was implemented and has been critical of government’s move to implement the GST, once again hit out at the government blaming it for implementing wrong things in a big way. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram while slamming the government on Sunday said, “Beginning with the GST Constitution Amendment Bill, every step taken by the BJP govt with regard to GST was deeply flawed. The GST bills ignored the advice of the Chief Economic Adviser on many aspects of GST, notably on the rates.”

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However, while the blame-game between BJP and Congress doesn’t seem to end, let’s take a look at some key findings that will give us the idea of how the GST has been able to perform in the past one year and if it has really helped businessmen and consumers in the country.

  • It has been a visible fact that more businessmen have brought their businesses under the GST format.
  • One of the most important outcomes of the GST implementation has been the control of inflation.
  • Reports say that GST registration has crossed 1 million.
  • Another area where people have benefited after the implementation of the GST is in the process of collecting tax from transporters. Earlier long queues were witnessed at state borders for the collection of taxes, however, they are not visible anymore.
  • GST has further helped in creating a seamless market.
  • According to CBDT, the filing of income tax returns have also increased.

What GST has missed addressing so far:

  • Petroleum products are still out of the new tax regime, which is also a concern of the corporate sector, which wants it to included in GST
  • The real estate sector has been affected by the GST implementation as the government has levied 8% tax on affordable housing while 12% for other segments while industry wants it to be kept at 6%.
  • Single tax slab: There has been a wide demand to the government asking it implement only one tax slab for all products, however, so far, there are no such signs that the government is interested bring out any such reform.

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After one year of GST implementation, though there are several things which are still needed to be done, it has definitely improved the compliance and helped in bringing more transparency in the system.

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