Industry divided over GST preparedness

Industry divided over GST preparedness
As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made it clear that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented from the midnight of June 30, industry bodies — Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (Assocham) are locking horns over the preparedness of GST.

While CII believes that the industry is ready for the rollout, Assocham on the other has written a letter to Finance Minister asking for the postponement of the GST rollout.

Stating that even GST Network (GSTN) won’t be fully operational by July 1, Assocham said their letter, “It has been stated that certain deficiencies in the Return formats resulting in glitches in operation of GSTN were detected during a Beta Test done about a month back. Consequently, the Return formats were completely revised, which in turn led to certain major changes in the IT software.”

The letter also claims that existing assessees have not entirely migrated to GST, due to various factors — unawareness of GST Law applying to them, unable to continue with the migration due to non-familiarity with IT tools, among others.

On the contrary, CII states that industry is ready for the GST implementation. According to a CII official, they expect 70% of the businesses across the length and breadth of the country to be GST ready by July 1. “Only 20-25% of businesses were GST ready a month back. Due to the increased clarity on GST, the number has increased to 70% right now,” said the official. CII, which has 8,000 direct members and two lakh indirect members, has been holding GST workshops across the country along with webinars. CII has launched a series of around 100 two-day GST training programmes across India. The workshops are expected to reach out to about 5,000-plus enterprises.

Sunil Kanoria, the former President of Assocham, said that despite issues, there is no option but to opt for GST. He also expects a temporary lump in the growth due to GST effect. Revenue Secretary, Hasmukh Adhia had earlier lashed out at industry and traders for being complacent in itimplementation of GST system.

The trading community is spreading rumours about the postponement of GST implementation date, he had claimed.

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