Government firing on all cylinders for GST rollout

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Rajya Sabha hurdle, notwithstanding, it begins work on laying the administration and tech foundation for implementation of goods and services tax by April, 2016
Being ready

The GST Bill, which subsume all indirect taxes into one uniform levy across the country, has to be first passed in the Rajya Sabha, after which 50% of the state assemblies have to whet it. This will be followed by the formation of a GST Council that will decide the revenue neutral rate. Another government official who is involved in the creation of the IT infrastructure for the implementation of the GST said work on developing its backbone was in progress on “war footing.” One of the two committees formed is a steering committee represented by additional secretary, department of revenue (DoR), member secretary and empowered committee of state finance minister.

The Rajya Sabha panel may still be reviewing the constitutional amendment Bill for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) but that is not holding back the government from going ahead with laying down the administrative and technological foundation for it.

On Wednesday, the finance ministry gave its nod for setting up of two committees that would look into the preparedness of the government – both at state and central level – and the industry for the roll out of the GST once it cleared all parliamentary hurdles.

The Bill was cleared in the Lok Sabha in the budget session but its passage in Rajya Sabha is still awaited and is likely to happen in the monsoon session.

M S Mani, senior director – indirect tax – Deloitte India, said the multi-pronged approach of the government would ensure it met the April 1, 2016 deadline for GST.

“The government has delinked the political and administrative aspects of GST. So, assuming everything falls in place in the Rajya Sabha then the government would not be founding wanting on preparedness (to roll it out),” he said.

Mani said the government was working more and more like a corporate with different teams for different tasks, and the two committees was a sign of this change and seriousness of the government in implementing the GST on time.

“The government is working on parallel tracks and is not going about it in a sequential manner. The parliamentary process will depend on political will and climate but the government is firing on all cylinders on the admin front,” he said.

The GST Bill, which subsume all indirect taxes into one uniform levy across the country, has to be first passed in the Rajya Sabha, after which 50% of the state assemblies have to whet it. This will be followed by the formation of a GST Council that will decide the revenue neutral rate (RNR).

“So, while the parliamentary procedures are happening, the government is keeping everything ready on a platter for the GST Council. This will help it to decide the RNR quickly,” said Mani.

Another government official who is involved in the creation of the information technology (IT) infrastructure for the implementation of the GST said work on developing its backbone was in progress on “war footing.”

“We are strictly going by the government deadline. The request for proposal (RFP) for information technology (IT) systems and equipment are out and the submission is expected by June 29,” he said.

He said his department was meeting state officials to assess their preparedness for data sharing and cleaning.

One of the two committees formed is a steering committee represented by additional secretary, department of revenue (DoR), member secretary and empowered committee of state finance minister. It will monitor the progress of IT preparedness of Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and tax authorities, along with looking at the progress on consultations with various stakeholders like trade and industry and training of officers.

The second committee, headed by Chief Economic Advisor (CEA), will recommend tax rates that would be consistent with the current level of revenue collection of Centre and states.

“While making recommendations, this committee would take into account expected levels of growth of economy, different levels of compliance and broadening of tax base under GST. The committee would also analyse the sector-wise and state-wise impact of GST on the economy,” said the government release.

It will be submitting its report within two months.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-government-firing-on-all-cylinders-for-gst-rollout-2096616

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