Denying that the newly launched Goods and Services Tax (GST) will lead to inflation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the prices of maximum items will either go down or remain unchanged. Jaitley also said India will not face a situation like other countries where the GST like taxes have been rolled out and seen higher inflation. The minister said the reports of a businessman being burdened with filing 37 returns in a year under the new tax regime are totally unfounded.
“I don’t think prices will go up after GST implementation because we have brought down the weighted average of entire taxation. Prices may go up for a few items but prices of maximum items will either go down or remain unchanged,” said Jaitley, adding that every businessman will have to file only one return by 10th of every month after which the computer software will automatically generate the rest of the reports.
“A businessman has to file only one return every month saying I sold items worth X amount. After that, this information will be tallied with his suppliers/wholesalers with the help of his GSTN number and linked to his commercial chain. At the end of the year, this information will be consolidated and on the basis of that final return, his annual assessment will be done,” said Jaitley, speaking at a show of India TV which will be live on Saturday at 10 p.m.
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The government launched the GST on June 30 midnight, implementing it from July 1, 2017 onwards. Stating that some people are worried because earlier they could hide information on the amount of sale, Jaitley said that under GST, this is not possible and those trying to play mischief will be detected easily.
Coming down heavily on those criticising four different tax slabs and advocating a single tax rate under GST, Jaitley said there are people who have not seen poverty and that’s why they are insensitive and making anti-GST statements. Mentioning that paying tax is a patriotic duty, Jaitley said that the government needs resources for making India a developed country,
“We need resources for the country. From where will the resources come? For how long will we be borrowing to meet the expenses of the government? We have to change the system. We were not able to change it earlier because we lacked the courage to implement such reforms,” said Jaitley.
Pointing out that during the UPA regime, manufacturing states like Maharashtra and Gujarat opposed GST because they feared to lose revenue and the Congress-led UPA had refused to compensate for their losses, Jaitley said that the current government has agreed to compensate them for their losses for the next five years after which they supported GST.
Commenting on other states, Jaitley said compulsion of politics forced Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad to come together, though they had different styles. “Whatever is appearing in newspapers about Lalu Prasad is unheard of. We never heard of ministries being offered in lieu of properties. How many people will adjust to this style?” Jaitley asked.