GST may have flaws but we cannot damn it; it is 'kanoon' of the country, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

  • Nirmala Sitharaman was interacting with businessmen, entrepreneurs, CAs and others in Pune on GST

  • The minister was replying to the concerns raised by taxation industry professionals, who said the industry was "cursing" the government over how the GST was implemented

  • Stating that it has been only two years since GST was implemented, she said she would have wished the new structure was satisfactory from day one

Pune: "I am sorry that Goods and Services Tax (GST) did not meet your satisfaction," said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman here on Friday while responding to a question during an interaction with businessmen, entrepreneurs, CAs and others.

"In this country after a long time, many parties in Parliament and in all the states worked together and came up with the Act. On the basis of some experiences, we cannot call what a god damn structure is this," she said in reply when one of the attendees raised his concern over the GST.

"I wished from day one, that it (GST) met with your satisfaction but I am sorry that it did not meet with your satisfaction. We cannot damn it...it was passed in Parliament and in all the State assemblies. It might have flaws; it might probably give you difficulties but I am sorry, it is the kanoon of the country...I appeal to you to work together so that we have a better framework if it is giving problems now," said the minister.

 GST may have flaws but we cannot damn it; it is kanoon of the country, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

File image of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI

The man in the audience, while claiming to be associated with a Cost Accountant Association in the city, said: "Everyone is presuming GST should be Goods and Simple Tax. We know the objective of doing business. You wanted to reduce the complexity of law, litigation and corruption. You also want a smooth administration. And the government is interested to increase revenue."

He went on to add: "Our suggestions were not taken from that perspective ... I'm asking you time which you can allocate when we can come to Delhi.... There are five suggestions from that perspective as officers don't take from that perspective. But they are the real problem in making the GST."

"If those concerns are addressed even without changing the law's structure at all, it will reduce a lot of the burden and everybody will be happy in that. Then it will be termed as Goods and Simple Tax. As of today, everybody including industries, consultants and auditors are cursing the government (for GST)," said he.

The Finance Minister has also given him time to meet her in Delhi and discuss the issue. GST was launched across the country with effect from 1 July, 2017.

Sitharaman asked tax professionals not to curse it and sought their help to make it better.

The minister was replying to the concerns raised by taxation industry professionals here, who said the industry was "cursing" the government over how the GST was implemented.

Stating that it has been only two years since GST was implemented, she said she would have wished the new structure was satisfactory from day one.

Earlier during a presser, when asked about the low GST collections, minister attributed it the difficulties due to weather-related disasters and also poor compliance.

"Yes, GST collection in some areas has not been strong enough. Various districts in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Himachal, and Uttarakhand were flooded and we had to postpone filing returns from these areas," she said.

She also said the revenue secretary has already formed a committee to indentify where collection has not been adequate as per our expectation.

"We have some reports on how in some cases evasion has happened. The committee will look into how this can be plugged and if there has been any under-invoicing," she said.

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Updated Date: Oct 12, 2019 09:33:45 IST