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GST should not be rolled out with 'jugaad', says Amit Mitra

Monday, June 12, 2017

The world's largest fiscal reform, Goods and Services Tax (GST), should not be implemented with "jugaad" and the rollout date for the new indirect tax regime should be postponed by a month, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said yesterday.

He said West Bengal has been the "pioneer" in seeking GST implementation, but the regime should be such that common man and small traders benefit alike. "I have also added a caveat (in the Council meeting) that July 1 looks extremely difficult. But you cannot do Jugaad for world's largest fiscal reform called GST," Mitra told reporters after the 16th meeting of the GST Council here.

He said that a small business has to fill up spreadsheet which then has to go through a software process to get uplinked. Reports suggest that the formats of these would be made available only by the end of this month. "...And you are going to start GST from July 1. So my submission was, let us not do jugaad for something which is world's largest fiscal reform," he said, adding that its rollout should be "postponed by one month or so".

Asked if West Bengal is ready for a July 1 rollout, Mitra said there is still one more meeting of the GST Council on June 18 during which the preparedness will be assessed. "Whenever we are prepared fully to our satisfaction, everybody feels comfortable, we can go ahead," he said.

In the meeting yesterday, the GST Council decided that traders, manufacturers and restaurant owners with turnover of up to Rs 75 lakh can opt for a composition scheme and pay taxes at the rate of 1, 2, and 5% respectively. Earlier, the Council had decided on a turnover limit of Rs 50 lakh.

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