Course correction? on GST decisions

Revenue and optics seem to play a greater role in GST decisions

Under attack on how the indirect tax regime has panned out, the Goods and Services Tax Council on Saturday announced a set of feel-good moves to reassure(आश्वस्त/समझाना) diverse(अनेक) stakeholders(हितधारकों). For consumers, the peak tax rate of 28% levied on cinema tickets above ₹100, large screen television sets or monitors, digital cameras and lithium ion batteries, among others, was bought down to 18%. For businesses still coping with compliance(अनुमति/पालन) niggles, more time has been granted(दाखिल करने) for filing this year’s annual returns; the promise of a simpler return filing system has beendangled(खतरे में/ललचाना (by July next year); and a single, fungible(प्रतिस्थापित/अनुकूल) e-cash ledger(बहीखाता) has been proposed to replace the present system in which credits available under Central GST cannot be set off against State GST dues. Last but not the least, concerns(चिंताओं/मामला) expressed (व्यक्त)by several(कई ) States about revenue(राजस्व/आय) trends(प्रवृत्तियों) since the GST’s introduction in July 2017 have been taken on board, and a ministerial group will be tasked with assessing (आकलन) the structural patterns affecting(प्रभावित ) revenue collections in some States. This is an accommodative(उदार) gesture(इशारा/हाव-भाव) from the Council, whose chief — Finance Minister Arun Jaitley — cited recent revenue trends that suggest(सुझाव ) compensation(मुआवजे ) payable to the States has reduced substantively( लगातार।) from last year. It is anyone’s guess how much of a role the recent reverses(उलटा) suffered(पड़ा/भुगतना) by the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assembly elections played in the latest decisions to slash rates or to ease the burden on businesses.

GST rationalisation(युक्तिकरण) is still a work in progress. It has long been clear that traders need a simpler filing system, faster refunds and other mechanisms to ease their cash flows. Consumers, for their part, are yet to get a clear definition of what qualifies as a good or service for the ‘sin’(दोष करना/अपराध) category. From over 200 items that were initially(शुरू) kept in the 28% ‘sin’ goods rate bracket, it is now down to just 28 items, which include(शामिल) cement (hardly a luxury for a country with a massive infrastructure investment agenda) and auto components. That the original rates were neither thought-through nor reviewed prudently (बुद्धिमानी से/सावधानी से) is apparent with the Council’s decision to reduce(कम करना/बदलना )the 28% levied on disabled(विकलांग ) persons’ carriage parts and accessories to 5%. Since cement yields( पैदावार) ₹13,000 crore in GST and auto parts another ₹20,000 crore, the Council has resisted(विरोध) rate cuts on these items for now. This is the problematic(समस्याग्रस्त ) part — revenue and optics(प्रकाशिकी) considerations( विचार) seem to have a greater role in rate setting than the nature of the goods or services to be taxed. The Prime Minister announced( घोषणा ) impending(उपस्थित) cuts in the 28% slab, and reacted positively to the film industry’s demand for lower GST. Seeking to correct popular perception ahead of the elections is one thing. But frequent tweaks to the structure, and an impression(प्रभाव/धारणा) that rates can be altered(तबदील) by lobbying(पैरवी /पक्ष जुटाव) the powers-that-be, risk ruining the promise the GST held for investors wary of India: a predictable(उम्मीद के मुताबिक), simple and stable tax regime.


Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: assure, bolster, buoy, cheer, comfort
Antonyms: annoy, bring down, depress, discourage, dishearten

2. Diverse(अनेक)
Synonyms: differing, disparate, distinct, divergent, diversified
Antonyms: like, same, similar, alike, conforming

3. Compliance(अनुमति/पालन)
Synonyms: conformity, consent, acquiescence, amenability, assent
Antonyms: difference, disagreement, refusal, disobedience, rebellion

4. Dangled(खतरे में/ललचाना
Synonyms: droop, flap, hang, sling, sway
Antonyms: disenchant, disgust, dissuade, repulse, turn off

5. Assessing (आकलन)
Synonyms: appraise, check, determine, estimate, fix
Antonyms: aid, assist, help, ignore, neglect

6. Fungible(प्रतिस्थापित/अनुकूल)
Synonyms: compatible, synonymous, changeable, commutable, converse
Antonyms: different, dissimilar

7. Suffered(भुगतना)
Synonyms: deteriorate, endure, experience, get, go through
Antonyms: calm, please, soothe, surrender, yield

Synonyms: cooked, corrected, modified , transformed, updated
Antonyms: unqualified, continued, held, kept, maintained

9.Rationalization (युक्तिकरण)
Synonyms: justification. rationale, ABCs, bulletin, chronicle,

10. Prudently (बुद्धिमानी से/सावधानी से)
Synonyms: brilliantly, judiciously, logically, prudently, rationally
Antonyms: badly, foolishly, stupidly, unintelligently

11. Lobbying(पैरवी /पक्ष जुटाव)
Synonyms: campaign for, persuade, politick, press, promote
Antonyms: discourage, dissuade, leave alone, pull, repress

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