The new age Indian Government has very aptly echoed the “call of growth” from the common man in the Union Budgets 2015. It is refreshing to see how the government has inched towards connecting people through the envisioned dream of Digital India.
The Digital India programme reiterates Government’s commitment to make India a knowledge and innovation based society. Accordingly, the Government also realizes that, in this internet age it will have to work through gadgets and technology to serve its population online, in the course ensuring time efficiency, speed and transparency. This Budget has reinforced Governments long term vision to transform India into a tech enabled society. The Rail budget announced on 26th February 2015 prioritized technology by giving the common man 400 wifi enabled station, charging ports in general compartments, SMS alert service paperless ticketing etc.
Similarly the union Budget has also paid heed to the grievances of the services providers and manufacturers by providing online Central Excise/Service Tax Registration within just two working days. Online registration will positively facilitate the business environment by considerably increasing ease of doing business in India.
Along with the Online registration assessee’s under the service tax and excise ambit will be also be allowed to issue digitally signed invoices and maintain electronic records. These measures will create a paperless work environment and considerably reduce red tape in trade. These digitally issued invoices will not only reduce business hassle but also reduce escapism in the part of the business’s to curtail their tax liability. The cenvat credit at various levels of trade could be appropriately linked through trader’s registration numbers thus ensuring smooth availment of credit in the trade cycle. Thus at a macro level, these digital footprints will increase tax revenue of the government by substantially deworming the administrative structure.
In this twitter world where the word spreads faster than fire, it is commendable that the government is taking adequate steps to prioritize technology in its function at the same time connecting India to the pulse of Internet.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) which received a red carpet from the Union budget will also require an interlined and integrated GST Network (GSTN). Although the Budget did not mention of GSTN, It is without an argument, a prerequisite for the successful implementation of GST within India. GSTN will entail smooth sharing of data among the states and will administer seamless credit flow between states. The GSTN as proposed will require a highly integrated network system to assimilate all new indirect tax data from the Centre and States.
Given the pace at which India is transforming, such a complex technological network only seems a more than possible. The GSTN committee (formed last year) has already leaped ahead and should soon come out with a pilot version of the network. It is more than imperative that India has arrived in the big networking stage and from here everything will only go uphill.
(CA Pratik Shah, CA Jigar Doshi are Partner and Senior Managers of SKP Business Consulting LLP and the above views given are personal.)