Demonetisation-hit states, industry need more time for GST: Mitra

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) Declining to set a dateline for implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday said demonetisation has hugely impacted states’ tax revenues, while Indian industry itself required more time to prepare for the new indirect tax regime.

“States are making presentation to the Union Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley), saying we’re not geting any money from the Centre,” Mitra told reporters here after the two-day meeting of the GST Council.

At the meeting, he said, Jaitley was briefed about how industries such as red chillies in Maharashtra and oranges in Nagpur had collapsed due to the cash crunch resulting from the November 8 demonetisation.

“We could not pass the iGST (integrated GST) law. There was discussion on the dual control issue… the states’ right to jurisdiction over small businesses with less than Rs 1.5 crore turnover. All that has still to be discussed,” Mitra said.

“We cannot have a GST that is non-sustainable, a GST that does not work,” he added.

Pointing out that Indian industry has said it is not fully ready for the roll-out of the GST regime, Mitra told reporters that the question on a GST timeline was better addressed to Jaitley for a clearer picture.

“A number of steps have to be taken for business to prepare, of which there is no sight. Upgrading of companies’ ERP (enterprise resource planning) is yet to take place,” Mitra said.

“Besides, no fitment has happened,” he added, referring to the alignment required to the GST tax rate structure that has been decided.

The GST Council has agreed on a multi-layered rate structure as 0 per cent, 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent, which is a departure from the general international practice of having one rate of tax for all goods and services.

Industry chamber Ficci has earlier represented to the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST for an 18 per cent standard rate on the ground that this rate will generate adequate tax buoyancy without fuelling inflation.

–IANS

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