CELEBRATING MIDNIGHT LAUNCH

Editorial GREATER JAMMU

The nation has revolutionized the way it does its taxes with the midnight launch of GST, the greatest tax reform launched on the intervening night of 30th June and 1st July in 2017. It is indeed a historic transit in the tax regime of India that deserves to be celebrated enthusiastically on its fifth anniversary. It needs to be recalled that all the opposition parties had opposed the launching of this new tax regime in India despite being in vogue across the globe and having proven its immense advantage to both the consumers as well as the entrepreneurs. However, with the passage of five years GST representing an unprecedented exercise in fiscal federalism has turned out to be a success story as of today. It is acknowledged by one and all that GST has been a milestone in the economic landscape of India. It has decreased the number of taxes, compliance burden and overall tax burden on common man while significantly increasing transparency, compliance and overall collection. One can say without any hesitation that while high tax rates of the pre-GST era acted as disincentive to paying tax, the lower rates under GST helped to increase tax compliance. Earlier, the multiple markets across India, with each state charging a different rate of tax, led to great inefficiencies and costs of compliance, but thanks to GST, the compliance has been improving steadily, with crores of taxpayers registered till date. This has been possible due to the government’s strong commitment towards continuous improvement of taxpayer services and ensure taxpayers’ full cooperation for their voluntary compliance. This ultimately is the taxpayers’ humble, yet greatest contribution to national development for a strong and resilient India. It is a fact that the nation meets its obligations towards spending in various social sectors and welfare schemes and infrastructure development out of revenues mobilized through tax payments by millions of honest taxpayers. GST has significantly eased one of the most complex indirect tax systems and the number of submissions a company looking to do business in every state had to make was 495 which presently under the GST regime stands reduced to just 12. Moreover, GST has replaced the complex indirect tax structure with a simple, transparent and technology-driven tax regime and has thus integrated India into a single common market. This is further augmented by the continuous simplification of procedures and rationalization of rate structures so as to make GST compliance easy for common man as well as the traders which is aimed at achieving strong economic integration of the country. The Govt’s strong commitment in this regard can be well gauged from the fact that the GST Council, that brings together the central and state governments, has met umpteen times to thrash out how the tax will work more smoothly for every stakeholder in the society. Besides, various amendments have been brought all these five years to consolidate this historic transit. At the same time it needs to be acknowledged that every novel concept on implementation is no cake walk and the same has been true about the GST which during the past five years has been challenging yet exciting journey, with most stakeholders including the government leveraging the use of technology to ensure compliance besides checking frauds and tax evasion. It is expected that even the excluded sectors will find their way into the GST ambit sooner or later as part of realization of the final transit into the vision of ‘One Nation One Tax’.