welcome move

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Oct 2017 11:46:04

THE decision of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council to offer reasonable relief to small and medium businesses on filing of returns and payment of tax and ease rules for exporters and reduction in tax rates on 27 items of common consumption, needs to be welcomed whole-heartedly. This development indicates an open-mindedness of the Government on an issue of genuine public interest involving much emotion at all levels. 

Right from the word ‘Go’, the Goods and Services Tax had run into some blocks because of the obvious reasons of popular discomfiture. The people engaged in small and medium businesses or doing business of unbranded stuffs or exporting on small scales had found the GST implementation a tough affair. Proper management of details on a monthly basis for the purpose of filing returns was one challenge smaller businesses found tough to handle. Right from the beginning, they were clamouring for some relief in the rigid GST regime.

The biggest difficulty of the small businesses was that they lacked the infrastructure necessary to maintain the detailed accounts and appropriate paper-work as a back up for transactions. They also realised that the claim of the Government that there would be a reduction in overall tax was not true. The overall quality of taxation did promise to get improved in due course of time. Yet, the small and medium businesses did not share that perception. They felt that the GST was not favourably inclined to benefit them.

Fortunately, the Government was on a lookout for feedback and took every input seriously. It pondered over the details in the GST regime and also gave a serious consideration to various complaints and voices of disagreement. This willingness to listen to the other side did wonders for both, the Government and the people. The outcome was that the GST Council agreed to reconsider some of the provisions in the GST Act. The announcement of relief was the product of that intense exercise, which the nation is bound to welcome.

This is not a mean development. This roll-back has stemmed from the Government’s open-mindedness and from its refusal to make anything an issue of prestige. This people-orientation has been the hall-mark of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s political life from the beginning of his illustrious career. He has always heard the people’s voice and has responded favourably, even beyond politics on most occasions. This quality of his came to fore as popular disagreement over the GST issue started asserting itself.

Of course, this development did not take place in a day. The Government took time to assess and re-assess the changing situation and public mood. Once that exercise was over, the Government acted fast much to everybody’s delight.