Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday admitted that the BJP government’s biggest indirect tax reform, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) may be flawed but it was now the law of the land and should not be condemned.
“We just can’t damn GST now. It has been passed in Parliament and in all state assemblies. It might have flaws, it might probably give you difficulties but I’m sorry, it’s the ‘kanoon’ of the country now,” Sitharaman was quoted as saying in Pune during an interaction with businessmen, entrepreneurs and Chartered Accountants.
“Suddenly we cannot say, what a goddamn structure is this (Goods & Service Tax). I wished from day one that it met with your satisfaction but I am sorry that it did not,” Sitharaman said.
The Centre has set up a 12-member committee to review a little over two-year old GST after the revenues witnessed the worst dip in 19 months in September and compliance did not show any improvement. The committee will suggest measures to shore up GST collection, critical for the government to reach its revenue targets in 2019-20.
The September GST collection came down to Rs 91,916 crore against Rs 98,202 crore in the last month. The sharp decline in the GST collection is due to the economic slowdown which has severely affected small and medium businesses.
Sitharaman is in Pune as part of the BJP)assembly election campaign in Maharashtra, where she also met businesses and heard their grievances.
After a brief heated exchange with a participant in the gathering she was addressing, the minister took to Twitter saying the participant spoke completely deriding the GST.
“I had halted him to say that he’s welcome to give suggestions and on his request to meet me with a delegation, gave him 23rd Oct ‘19 even from the dais”.