The roll out of GST invoked mixed reactions from the industry, traders and consumers. It is a coincidence that the Holy book Gita also has 18 chapters.
Kochi: The trade and commerce sector in the state is apprehensive even as Finance Minister Dr. Thomas Isaac is beaming with confidence about the benefits accruing to the state on account of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) becoming effective from Saturday. The Prime Minister said GST would lead to a modern tax administration which is simpler, more transparent, and helps curb corruption.
In contrast to simpler sales taxes in other countries, India's GST has four rates and numerous exemptions.
President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said that introduction of GST was a "momentous event" for the nation and "a tribute to the maturity and wisdom of India's democracy" while pointing out that the success of major changes always depends on their effective implementation. "Tonight, at midnight, we will together move the nation forward".
Giving due credit to his allies, opponents and detractors, he maintained, "GST could be crystallized not due to one person or party but due to the collective efforts of all the statesmen".
Each product will now attract a single tax rate across India. "This is not an achievement of one party or one government but work of all governments and parties", he declared.
Remarking that it had "become a norm to evade taxes", Arun Jaitley said the government could not keep lending money from various institutions and has to get money from the citizens in the form of taxes to run the country. GST rates will also bring about a bigger tax burden on the use or purchase of goods and services which are deemed as luxurious.
The government launched the GST on June 30 midnight, implementing it from July 1, 2017 onwards. This historic moment is the culmination of a 14 year journey. He had met chief ministers of various states and had seen that they were receptive to the idea. The traders feel implementation of GST will erode the financial and political autonomy of the restive region. "It has pleasantly surprised everybody by completing its task on time", the President said.
The new tax system, which will dramatically ease inter-state movement of goods, helping to lower prices and boost revenue, while providing a fillip to the economy and improving compliance, comes after 17 arduous years of negotiations by successive governments at the centre and the states. It is estimated to add 0.4 per cent to 2 per cent to GDP growth. It had already ordered all businesses in January to adopt or upgrade cash registers and computer systems so they are able to file tax returns that comply with the new tax regime.