“GST 2.0 will take the Indian economy to the next growth level,” said Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) President Vikram Kirloskar. The industry also pressed to bring in all sectors under GST. “The most critical action would be to ensure ‘one nation, one tax’ by including all sectors under the ambit of GST,” said the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) .
The CII also echoed this calling for the inclusion of electricity, oil and gas, real estate and alcohol under GST “at the earliest” to allow for seamless availability of input tax credit across sectors.
FICCI pointed out the need to include the healthcare sector at “zero GST rating” as healthcare providers are not able to claim input tax credits on inputs that have seen tax hikes adding to overall input costs.
The CII wanted a reduction of the number of GST slabs to “two or three” as well as make keep the 28% slab to only include “de-merit goods.” De-merit goods are goods such as cigarettes, the consumption of which is considered negative for the consumer.
Both industry associations have also called for single central registration process for GST. Currently, businesses are required to register both with the centre and the states where they operate.
Industry also asked the government to create a central body to deal with advance rulings on the provisions of the GST law to deal with ambiguity caused by divergent ruling from revenue officers in different states.
“In just two years, GST has consolidated and is delivering notable outcomes for smoother business, lower logistics costs and easier payment of taxes in digital mode. We believe goods and services tax will be a forceful instrument for driving economic growth for India in years to come,” said Adi Godrej, past president of CII.
Sandeep Somany, president, FICCI, also praised the government for it’s “proactive response” to deal with the challenges of implementing the landmark GST reform.
Experts highlighted the importance of using the data collected from filings and the ease of use of the new GST return system to be made mandatory from October 1.
“The next phase of GST should involve using the return data to detect abnormal patterns and focus on audits of non-compliant entities, as these would also help in boosting collections,” said M S Mani, partner, Deloitte.
“Businesses now, from a GST perspective, have been awaiting the modalities of the new return system to evaluate changes they would need to make to their business processes, IT systems,” said Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY India.