Amid doubts in some quarters over the tech preparedness for the goods and services tax (GST), the high-powered GST Council on Sunday decided to introduce the new indirect tax system from the midnight of June 30-July 1, but gave a relaxed timetable and exemption from penalties and late fees to industry while filing returns in the first two months.
However, some states expressed fears that the relaxation given on filing returns would lead to a revenue loss for them.
“We don’t have the luxury of time to defer the implementation of the GST… The official launch of the GST would take place on the midnight of June 30 and July 1,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after a five-and-a-half-hour meeting of the Council, whose chairman he is.
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the Centre was ready, but it was companies that wanted time to plug in. “GST Suvidha Providers and other software providers wanted 10-15 days’ time to test the system. Besides, banks, civil aviation, and telecom wanted more time to get their system in place.”
The Council also approved the anti-profiteering rules. A five-member anti-profiteering authority will be set up to decide on levying penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under the GST regime. The authority, to be headed by a retired secretary-level officer, can take suo motu action, besides acting on complaints of profiteering.
Where the consumer cannot be identified, the amount would be credited to the consumer welfare fund, according to an official.