Nirmala Sitharaman
Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs
Government of India

Dy. No. 1731363 FM/FMP/2021

30 June, 2021

Message

Today marks the fourth anniversary of a historic tax reform, the GST, which was introduced on this day in the year 2017. It is a matter of great satisfaction that we have overcome most challenges, including two waves of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, in providing stability to this new tax regime. In the last four years, our tax base has almost doubled from 66.25 Lakh to 1.28 crores. For eight months in a row, GST revenues have crossed Rs.1 lakh crore mark and we have seen record GST revenue collection of Rs. 1.41 lakh crores  in April 2021. The capacity of GST Network has been suitably upgraded so that technical glitches and system overload are a thing of the past ensuring a smooth filing experience to taxpayers. Would like to thank and congratulate the people of India, especially the taxpayers, 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 to prosperity. Happy to note that CBIC is recognising more than 54,000 GST taxpayer for their contribution to the nation building on the eve of four years of implementation of GST.

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, especially MSMEs, but also reducing the tax burden on the common man. The relief measures announced in the middle of a pandemic which has wreaked havoc in the world and adversely affected the global economy are testimony to this. Two Covid relief packages which, interalia 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. Further, GST rates on vaccines, essential medicines and 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.

CONTINUATION SHEET

While observing this milestone, it would only be befitting to remember those officers and staff of the CBIC who have lost their lives in the line of duty due to the pandemic. We condole the loss of 189 personnel and remember their contribution to the national effort. The initiative taken by CBIC in releasing a book “Shraddhanjali” to pay homage to these departed souls is noteworthy.

In conclusion, congratulations to both CBIC and State lax administrations who have worked day and night during the past four years to make GST a success. Commendable work has been done in the year gone by both in the area of facilitation and enforcement with numerous cases of fraudulent dealers and ITC being registered. The enhanced revenue collection in recent months should now be the new normal’. My special congratulations to all the awarders of ‘Commendation Certificate’ for their exceptional contribution in GST administration. May their actions inspire others to put in their best effort in the interest of the nation.

(Nirmala Sitharaman)

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