Govt sets up panel to suggest measures to augment GST

Last Updated 10 October 2019, 14:36 IST

With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections dropping sharply to a 19-month low in September, the government has constituted a committee of officers to suggest measures to augment collections, expand the tax base and check evasion.

The panel comprising of state-level GST commissioners and centre government officials has been asked to suggest urgent measures to arrest the fall in tax revenues and suggest steps to be taken to improve revenue collection.

"The committee should consider a wide range of reforms so that a comprehensive list of suggestions may emerge," an official order said.

It has been asked to consider a wide range of reforms so that a comprehensive list of suggestions may emerge. The panel has been asked to look into "systemic changes in GST including checks and balances to prevent misuse." Also, it has been tasked to suggest measures to improve voluntary compliance as well as policy measures and changes in law needed.

Its key mandate is to suggest "measures for expansion of tax base" and make recommendations on "improved compliance monitoring and anti-evasion measures using better data analytics," the order said.

GST collections dropped sharply to a 19-month low of Rs 91,916 crore in September, mirroring a widening slowdown in the economy triggered by shrinking consumer demand. This was the second straight month of decline in GST collections, which from July 1, 2017, amalgamated 17 different central and state levies, including excise duty, service tax and VAT.

The fall in tax collections is seen as a reflection of economic activity and a decline in collections indicated a downturn.

India's GDP growth slowed to more than six-year low of 5 per cent in April-June, prompting the government to take an array of steps to boost the economy, including the steepest cut in corporate tax rate which would cost Rs 1.45 lakh crore.

The panel constituted on Thursday comprises state GST commissioners of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab besides central government officials including Principal Commissioner of GST and Joint Secretary (Revenue).

States have been asked to give suggestions in writing as well as join the panel.

"The Committee may co-opt or seek assistance from such officers from Centre/State as may be deemed necessary," the order said.

(Published 10 October 2019, 14:06 IST)

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