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India’s First Budget Post GST implementation

There have been many discussions on the first budget post GST implementation. The issues related to the new and revolutionized pan-India indirect tax regime continues to be an important burning point in all the pre-Budget consultations.

As per the GST news India, the bodies like Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and others have already voiced their concerns related to GST in the pre-Budget recommendations. The apex industry bodies CII and FICCI talked about rationalization of GST rates to make the tax regime easier, and FIEO talked about the issues on the extension of duty draw back system for GST and refund of taxes. They also spoke about GST charged on freight for carrying fruits and vegetables.

There was a concern on consent in the demand for board, cut on the tax rate for both the businesses and individuals. This move is suggested as it is expected to outgrow both the domestic investment and the demand, and also to hold the counties international competitive environment.

Though the government is lending the ears to all these recommendations from the stakeholders, but it is quite clear on its priorities for the Union Budget 2018-19. The three main areas will remain Infrastructure, social sector programs, and agriculture. Upcoming general elections in 2019 calls for the focus on these three highly politically sensitive sectors.

It has been proposed that a GST Council like Empowered Group of State Agricultural Ministers will be set up where Agricultural Reforms will be implemented, according to the GST India News.

The finance Minister is in accordance with the demands of the social sectors organizations that Administrative Ministries should release welfare scheme funds on priority to beneficiaries. He promises that his government will make sure that cost effective fund utilization of the welfare schemes will happen. He is keen on the greater allocation of funds for the schemes like child protection and nutrition security. Other considerations include improving quality of government schools, healthcare for the elderly people, streamlining the vocational training to better the employment, incentives to make sure that there are better employment conditions for the working mothers, and addressing labor issues in the informal sector.

The key points of some of the suggestions are:

1. Tax rate cuts for businesses and individuals to create domestic investment and demand and to retain countries overall competitive environment globally.
2. GST has been a revolution. Now, in future, we need a convergence of 3-4 rates to include all the excluded items till date.
3. Efforts should be made for more simplified compliance norms related to GST.
4. The advantage of filing quarterly return in GST must be extended to all and not just only to those who have a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore.
5. Eradicate the GST application on Intra-entity transfer of services within the same legal entity.
6. Clearer norms on anti-profiteering provisions under GST
Serlyn Shetty
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