No doubt the ‘one nation one tax’ scheme has plenty of flaws. And there’s a big room for improvement.
However, there are many things to be happy about. ......
For once, the fact that India does have a single market tax structure like this is a good thing to start with. Second, when the reform was rolled out, the biggest contention of the challengers was that it could possibly fuel inflation in the country. However, courtesy of a multi-slab system that ensured there isn’t any drastic change in the tax rate of many commodities, this paranoia turned out to be just another buzz with no substance. Inflation didn’t rise. Indeed, in return, unemployment did get worse, but that’s a different topic altogether.
Introduction of GST also encouraged formalization of the economy. However, in lack of proper data, one cannot exactly say how effective the measure was/is in doing that. After all, demonetization promised the same but it failed miserably.
Additionally, the tax system also helped in streamlining production, chain supply, and storage, which made them even more efficient. And, above all, it dismantled as many as 17 taxes and multiple cesses to ease the burden off on business owners as well as the consumers. In short, GST is a crucial step towards a simple, transparent economic system where the tax structure is fairer to all.
But then again, the implementation of this reform, as is widely criticized, was poorly executed. And what was supposed to be a simple structure, it turned out to be extremely complex. Business owners struggled in the registration process, there are ample of loopholes in compliance, going against the narration of ‘one nation one tax’ multiple cesses have come up, there are problems in a refund for exports, and most importantly, there are still many things that are not in the GST net.
If the government is really serious about this reform, it must take immediate steps for improvement.
For the starters-
After one year since the rollout of this ‘one nation one tax’, we now have a pool of data and feedback. The government can use them effectively and make necessary amendments easily.
It’s nearly a year since we saw ‘one nation one tax’ reform come into effect. Here’s what the World Bank has to say about it (in one of its reports):
The question that is the one nation one tax system successful in India remains ambiguous even after more than a year of its implementation. Almost every day we witness some or the other news related to this ambitious project of Indian government. The current trends tell us that this system is far from being successful. According to the latest reports, the system does not cease to be doubtful even after a year of its implementation. The businesses are witnessing quite a lot of problems and even the GSTN site is deemed to be unreliable and unresponsive. Businessmen are facing many problems like difficulties in filing GST returns, lack of response from the GST helpdesk, increase in accounting costs post GST, and so on. Statistics show that: