GST regime had largely stabilized, if not for coronavirus; now, time to make this long-due change

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Published: June 30, 2020 5:41 PM

After more than three years of its roll out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Goods and Tax (GST) regime had largely stabilised, but the coronavirus pandemic threw a spanner in its progress.

Several states are now forced by the pandemic to maintain restrictions and the shutdown of commercial activities is exerting a huge financial pressure on both the respective government and the businesses.

After more than three years of its roll out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Goods and Tax (GST) regime had largely stabilized, but the coronavirus pandemic threw a spanner in its progress. “As the country was heading towards a largely stabilized Goods and Services regime after three years of its introduction, lockdown and concentration of pandemic cases in major economic centres have thrown new challenges,” industry body ASSOCHAM said on Tuesday. The country continues to witness a rising number of coronavirus cases in major metros and economic hubs such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, even while India has entered Unlock Phase 2. 

Several states are now forced by the pandemic to maintain restrictions, which has not only put a double pressure on public health emergencies but the shutdown of commercial activities is also exerting a huge financial pressure on both the respective government and the businesses. “Against a monthly collection of Rs 1 lakh crore, the GST collection has been reduced to half that level,” Deepak Sood, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, said, calling GST one of the most important tax reforms in the country. Meanwhile, ASSOCHAM has said that the government must look into bringing the one-nation-one-tax or GST to the petroleum products and real estate sector as well. “States must be brought on board, as such a move would help the country immensely by boosting  consumption demand and incentivizing investment in the real estate sector,” the industry body said.

In April 2020, GST collection nosedived as business activities were brought to a standstill in the country due to coronavirus lockdown. The government had collected about Rs 43,000 crore in GST as opposed to March 2020’s over Rs 97,000 crore figure and as against Rs 1.13 lakh crore figure of April last year. The country had imposed a nationwide lockdown on 24 March 2020 to keep the spread of coronavirus in check. 

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