Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha has asked all the ministries and departments to set up a GST facilitation cell to help resolve sectoral concerns of the industry for smooth rollout of the new tax regime from July 1. In a letter to the secretaries of various ministries and departments, Sinha said that the GST facilitation cell should be managed by a small core team headed by the economic adviser or any other officer of the ministry. “The cell shall be in constant touch with major industry and business associations relating to the respective ministry/department and provide all possible support for the smooth roll-out of GST with effect from July 1, 2017,” a finance ministry statement said.
Sinha has also asked the ministries to ensure that all public sector units (PSUs) under the administrative control of their respective ministry/department are GST compliant before July 1, 2017. The secretaries have been asked to hold meetings with the CMDs/chairpersons of PSUs in order to sensitise them towards GST roll out. “The Cabinet Secretary further added that preferably each PSU may constitute a GST cell, which, in turn, should be fully equipped with the complete knowledge of all the relevant GST Act/Rules/Rate Structure etc,” the statement said.
Earlier, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had written to the secretaries of various ministries saying there is an urgent need for all the central government’s ministries and PSUs to be made aware of basic features of the GST law and procedures, including implication in their respective areas of work. The GST facilitation cell, Sinha said, could serve as the first point of contact for addressing any issue being faced by any business or industrial sector related to the respective ministry.
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At present, helpline numbers are being made operational by the revenue department for understanding legal or IT related issues of the GST. Sinha further said that to ensure smooth and successful roll-out of GST, it is essential that all stakeholders, both in the government as well outside, are adequately prepared for the roll-out. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that all sectors/businesses are GST ready before July 1, 2017. Touted as the biggest taxation reform since independence, the GST will subsume 16 different taxes, including excise, service tax and VAT, and will make India a single market for seamless transfer of goods and services.