Today in GST Council’s 39th meeting in New Delhi. Amid economic slowdown and under the threat of Corona virus now, there are dark clouds hovering over Indian and global economy. At this point in time, one does not know the overall impact of virus on economy and lives. If it damages more, as it appears, every country and everyone is going to be impacted. Governments would be expected to contain its spread and impact, incur expenditure and will certainly have to live with lower tax collections in next few months. Corona virus will have a multiplier adverse impact on one and all, directly or indirectly.

In this backdrop, what should the GST Council be doing today? Ideally they should deliberate upon short term objective of understanding, appreciating and coming out with some decisions on how to tackle economy with the tool like GST. It should also look at supporting manufacturing sector and keep an eye on how to keep economy moving with coordination of other related Ministries including banking. If that happens, GST revenue will also continue to be realized.

It should now be focused more on macro economics then just GST collections. Of course, simplification of implementation and procedures is an ongoing process. Idea should be to relax pain points in GST.

Some issues which require GST Council’s attention inter alia, are:

  • Deferring of e-invoicing and new e-way bill system, if not ready
  • Remove anomaly on collection of interest on delayed payment of tax on gross basis ensure passage of amendment to section 50 by two states (West Bengal and Telangana) which is holding a very important amendment, already passed by centre and all other states
  • Relaxing interest and penal provisions for notices of ITC for the Financial Year 2017-18
  • Solution to GSTN related glitches
  • Seamless ITC to be ensured
  • GST audit dates to be deferred on a reasonable basis to 31st December, 2020 which is otherwise also likely to happen.

Let’s hope wisdom prevails amongst GST Council in national economic and social interests.

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