New Delhi, April 17: Finance minister Arun Jaitley said taxes were “necessary and problematic” and managing that trade-off called for “good economics and better politics”.
Delivering the keynote address on “A Tax Vision for India” at Washington’s Peterson Institute for International Economics on Thursday, Jaitley said the Narendra Modi government aimed to roll in the Goods and Services Tax regime by April 1, 2016. For this, a “technology backbone” was being put in place.
As Parliament meets again to complete the agenda on the general budget from April 20, high on the Centre’s to-do list is the passage of the GST Bill that the BJP had consistently opposed when it was in Opposition.
According to his speech, a copy of which was released by the BJP’s media cell, Jaitley said: “For 10 years we have been saying GST is about to be implemented. Now we have secured a basic political agreement on the contours of the basic GST framework.”
He described the GST as a “modern”, “consumption-based, value-added” tax that avoided “tax cascading”, strengthened the forward movement of revenues and increased the tax-GDP ratio.
Claiming that the Modi government was “absolutely committed to a transparent and predictable tax regime”, the finance minister assured the audience that by not contesting the two high court rulings in 2015 in the retrospective taxation case, which went in favour of Vodafone and Shell, the Centre had “reflected” its “commitment to not being adversarial” to investors. “We will see taxpayers as partners and not as potential hostages or victims,” Jaitley said.