The stage is set for introducing the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and all officials at the central and state levels have been given training on the new laws, which will be introduced throughout the country soon.
Workshops, seminars and symposia with the assessee have been taken up and SK Panda, Chief Commissioner of service tax, Kolkata zone, himself addressed 84 such meetings to dispel doubts among the tax payers. Moreover, they have been informed about the new laws and procedures.
The common sight of long queues of trucks at check posts will be a matter of the past as there will be no need to keep them waiting for collection of tax. In most parts of Europe, a truck travels 800 km to 1000 km a day; in India, meanwhile, it is just around 200 km per day because of the multitude of check posts where the average waiting time is anything between two and 24 hours.
Transporters are often compelled to spend large amounts on the drivers and helpers of heavy-duty long-distance trucks. On the other hand, the government has to pay crores of rupees annually for the maintenance of the check posts. The expenditure of both transport operators and the government will come down significantly once check posts are removed.
A robust state-of-the-art technology system is being given a trial run. Businessmen will soon need to register themselves in the GST Network. The payment of tax and claims will be conducted online. There will be minimal interface with government officials. This will automatically stem corruption on one hand and, on the other, eliminate bogus creditors.
Panda said once GST is introduced, harassment to businessmen will be eliminated. Currently, businessmen have to pay 14 different types of taxes and follow procedures required under the numerous existing laws.
Once GST comes into force, there will be single tax payment procedure. The incidence of duty will come down and efficiency will go up. Corruption will go down and there will be absolute transparency. In case of a dispute arises, there will be prescribed statutory authority in every state to settle the disputes.