GST to cut tax evasion, Build a fine Market: FM Arun Jaitley

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New Delhi : Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said people may face some difficulty initially when the goods and services tax is rolled out, but in the long run the new indirect tax framework would help cut tax evasion and check price rise.

“To begin with, people could face some difficulties because any change over has its own problems, but it will settle down and the country will benefit,” Jaitley said at an event in the capital on Tuesday.

The minister also said the GST Council will look at bringing real estate in GST net by next year and revisit taxing of petroleum products under the new regime in 1-2 years.

To be launched at midnight on June 30, GST seeks to create a seamless national market by subsuming a host of indirect levies including excise, service tax and VAT.

Jaitley said that while negotiating with the states on GST there were some “tough” issues and on products like petroleum and potable alcohol states were unwilling to leave their taxation powers.

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“If we insisted on that, then the deal would have been broken,” he said. “The Constitutional amendment provides that petroleum products can be taxed under GST as and when GST Council decides. And once GST is implemented, in 1-2 years once again the council will get opportunity to revisit it, he said.

While products like kerosene, naphtha and LPG will be under the ambit of GST, crude oil, natural gas, aviation fuel, diesel and petrol have been excluded from the basket for the initial years.

Jaitley also said he personally was in favour of a proposal mooted by Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia to bring real estate under GST, but few other states were not in favour. “It was then decided that let GST be implemented first, and then after one year we will deliberate on it,” he said.

No Politics, please
The finance minister also said Congress must refrain from indulging in politics over the launch of GST. The main opposition party has remained non-committal about attending the midnight launch of GST from the Central Hall of Parliament at a function to be attended by President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan among others.

Asked about the Congress party being non-committal of attending the event, Jaitley said, “I don’t know what they will do. All decisions (on GST) were taken collectively and we want the launch programme to reflect the collective nature of our polity.”

He said all political parties have supported the GST Constitutional Amendment Act in Parliament, and all states sans Jammu & Kashmir have passed the State GST (SGST) Act. “It is for entire country, and President would be there and there should be no politics over it,” he said.

“The GST Council is the first federal institution where every decision was taken by consensus,” the minister said. “No decision was taken on the basis of UPA versus NDA, or on the basis of politics. All decisions were taken keeping in mind the benefits to the country and traders.”

Source : ET

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