Efforts to roll out GST from next fiscal: Sinha

Mohali :Union Minister Jayant Sinha today expressed hope that Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be rolled out from next fiscal even as he held Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi responsible for creating impediments in the implementation of the taxation reform.

Regretting at “low” tax payment, the Minister said the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, which has a mandate to provide corruption free and transparent regime, had toughened laws to prevent tax evasion and curb black money.

“We are hoping to implement GST from 2016… but it will be clear in Winter Session of Parliament. Our efforts will be to get it passed,” Sinha, Union Minister of State for Finance, said here today while holding an interactive session with industry representatives from Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Describing GST as “boon” for the economy, Sinha hit out at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly not allowing the roll out of GST.

“Why GST is not being implemented. There is only one person in the whole country who has halted the roll out of GST and his name is Rahul Gandhi ji. Rahul Gandhi ji does not want the country to progress… It is sheer injustice on his part (that) if there was voting in Rajya Sabha and it had been allowed for two hours to function then all the votes will be in our favour.

“But he does not allow to function Rajya Sabha because he knows if Rajya Sabha functions for two hours and there will be voting and then they will be defeated and GST will be passed,” he said.

Sinha also lamented at lesser number of people paying tax in the country, saying it is “quite sad”.
“Our 16 per cent people pay tax in comparison to average 25 per cent people in other countries who pay their due taxes,” he said.

He said that the Centre, led by BJP government, had made laws tougher to curb black money in foreign countries and practice of tax evasion.

“There is no place to hide for those who indulge in stashing black money abroad. We are enforcing laws strictly to stop tax evasion practice. Our efforts is to move towards cashless economy,” he added.

Sinha said that against the Centre’s total expenditure of Rs 18 lakh crore, the revenue generation from taxes and other sources like disinvestment is pegged at Rs 12.5 lakh crore with the shortfall of Rs 5.5 lakh crore.
“Can you run your businesses with such a deficit,” he asked industry. “There will be concessional rate, standards and then luxury rate in GST,” he said.

On bringing petrol and diesel into GST fold, Sinha said that states were not on the same page for bringing fuel under GST.

“If we keep petrol and diesel items out of GST for two years and there are no revenue losses, then it can be brought under GST regime after two years. As a result of which tax on petrol and diesel in all the state will be uniform,” he said.

He added that there may be a hike in the excise limit of small industry in next Budget.

Lashing out at previous UPA-led central government, Sinha said not even a single paisa of capital expenditure was incurred in Railways in 10 years of their regime.

“Our government has targeted to invest Rs 8.5 lakh crore in Railways in next five years,” he said.