Union Finance Minister thanks taxpayers on the fourth anniversary of Goods and Services Tax
With the Goods and Services Tax system completing four years, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said most challenges in providing stability to the tax regime have been overcome, including the two waves of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. “In the last four years, our tax base has almost doubled from 66.25 lakh to 1.28 crore. For eight in a row, GST revenues have cross Rs 1 lakh crore and we have seen record collection of Rs 1.41 lakh crore in April,” the minister said in a written message. “The enhanced revenue collection in recent months should be the ‘new normal’, she said.
“Would like to thank and congratulate the people of India, especially the tax payers, whose unstinted support and faith in our government have made GST a reality. Its positive externalities such as a unified market, removal of cascading and improved competitiveness of goods and services has helped spur economic growth taking us further on the path of prosperity,” the minister said.
“Any reform of this scale, in a large and diverse country such as ours, can only be highly challenging. The GST Council has shown immense sagacity and wisdom in redressing legitimate concerns of taxpayers and citizens by course correction whenever needed. This has manifested itself not just in measures to ease the compliance burden on taxpayers, but especially MSMEs, but also reducing the tax burden on the common man,” Ms Sitharaman noted.
Stating that the relief measures worked out in the middle of the pandemic ‘which has wreaked havoc in the world and adversely affected the global economy’ are a testimony of such an approach. “Two COVID relief packages which, inter alia, involved late fee waiver, interest rate reduction, relaxation of timelines and conducting refund drive for increasing liquidity in the hands of the taxpayer were implemented,” she pointed out.
“Further, GST rates on vaccines, essential medicines ad products/services used for prevention and treatment of COVID were also reduced. In addition, the Quarterly Return and Monthly Payment Scheme, e-invoicing and auto-population of returns under the REAP project have substantially reduced the compliance burden on taxpayers making their life simpler and better,” the minister asserted.
While commending the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and State tax administrations for working ‘day and night during the past four years to make GST a success’, Ms Sitharaman condoled the loss of 189 officers and staffers of CBIC in the line of duty due to the pandemic. The CBIC is releasing a book to pay homage to these personnel and remember their contribution to the national effort, the minister said.
Referring to a CBIC initiative to felicitate around 54,000 taxpayers under the GST regime today, Ms Sitharaman said: “May their actions inspire others to put in their level best effort in the interest of the nation.”
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