GST more important than Land Bill: Adi Godrej

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Mumbai | August 07, 2015 7:45 PM

Raising concerns over disruptions in Parliament stalling key reform bills, top industrialist Adi Godrej today said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill is "by far the most important" but the revised bill has got many "infirmities".

Adi Godrej said that GST Bill is by far the most important among the bills pending in Parliament. (PTI)Adi Godrej said that GST Bill is by far the most important among the bills pending in Parliament. (PTI)

Raising concerns over disruptions in Parliament stalling key reform bills, top industrialist Adi Godrej today said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill is “by far the most important” but the revised bill has got many “infirmities”.

With Parliament continuing to face disruptions and the key reform bills pending to be passed, the Godrej group chairman expressed a fear that if the session were to be adjourned sine die, then it will raise a lot of question marks on the future.

“I think the most important thing, if you look at all the bills pending, GST is by far the most important,” Godrej told PTI, when asked about the dilution of the land bill.

“Through the GST, we will have double digit growth in India and everything else will come in line,” he said, conceding that the revised draft of the GST, which is billed as a big reform on the indirect taxation front, has a lot of “infirmities”.

“It (current draft) is not a perfect thing. If the perfect draft were to give an 100 points effect (benefit) on the economy, this one will have 80 at least. And in a couple of years, we will have 100. It is very important to pass the GST with a few infirmities rather than not doing it at all,” he said.

The government has said in the past that it wants to implement in the Goods and Services Tax from April 1, 2016.

Continued protests by Congress members forced a washout of Rajya Sabha proceedings for the third week, stalling passage of key indirect tax reform GST bill.

On the land bill, where the industry has a reason to be disappointed because of the dilution, Godrej said it is an issue which has been stuck due to political issues.

“It is a political issue and difficult to tell. I think they will leave a lot of the implementation to the states. The states will be able to provide the land for the industry,” he said.

Citing official response to an RTI query, a recent media report had said only eight per cent of 804 stalled industrial projects are stuck due to problems in land acquisition.

Godrej said things are looking better for the fast moving consumer goods sector which contributes the most to his group’s revenues and added that the company has reported a 13 per cent volume growth in the first quarter.

Even though fears are being expressed of a slowdown in the rural sector due to poor monsoon estimate, Godrej said his company as well its peers are experiencing a faster growth in rural markets than the urban one.

The recent fall in commodity prices does give a leg up to his company on the margins front, but a significant part of the advantage will be invested in advertising and marketing spends, he said.

The company will continue to invest in factories and will also look at acquisition opportunities, both domestically and abroad, he said.

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