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GST: Promise and pitfalls

The conference which was held on June 11 of the GST Council, addressed a lot of rate issues where representations were received from trade and industry. It was demonstrated both pragmatism and flexibility of the government.

The government was receptive in sectors with considerable employment potential. It was felt that a lot of the value addition in the sector is carried out by workers in their own homes or in small outsourced premises. Similarly, rates fixed for processed foods such as ketchup, jam etc. have been brought down to give a fillip to the food processing industry. This is again an industry with considerable employment potential.

By reducing the duties, it is expected that the lower price points in India may help to expand the market and create a favourable ecosystem for foreign investment in the food processing sector. At the council it was addressed that the issue of the inverted duty structure in a number of sectors.

The Council has reduced the GST rate on clearly identifiable tractor components from 28 per cent to 12 per cent, likewise the duty rates for certain inputs have been brought down in the pharmaceutical industry.

To benefit a large number of SMEsthe government has also responded to wide appeal of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their compliance burden in the GST regime. These will now have to file simple compounding return, without having to give details of invoices. The rate has been fixed at a flat rate of 1 per cent for the traders, 2 per cent for the manufacturers and 5 per cent for the restaurants.The SMEs would have to handle things on their own as the big firms have the opportunity to use the services of the GST Suvidha Providers and authorized Suvidha Providers

To help them, the GSTN has created an offline utility to which small and medium industries can upload their returns and from which the GSTN portal will convert the same into their standardised formats.

Large projects like electronic voting and Aadhaar, seeks some hopeas, the past experience in executing.

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