GST will be rolled out on July 1, asserts Jaitley

New Delhi [India]: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be rolled from July 1, amid concerns raised by business industries citing unpreparedness to comply with the provisions of the new indirect tax regime.

He said the next meeting of the GST Council will be held on June 30 to redress some outstanding issues.

Addressing the media here, Jailtey said, “We don’t have luxury of time to defer implementation of GST. The Council decided categorically it will be implemented from July 1 onwards.”

He said the official launch of the GST will take place from midnight of June 30 at a function in New Delhi, which is being expected to be celebrated at a grand scale.

Jailtey said the GST Council, during its 17th meet, discussed about the IT preparedness at length and added that 65.6 lakh have taken provisional registration under the new tax regime.

The Finance Minister’s statements came a day after ASSOCHAM asked the government to postpone the implementation of GST, citing that the IT network was not ready.

D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, applauded government’s effort to implement GST at the earliest, but said there are various issues which still need to be looked at before GST can be implemented successfully.

“Going by the statements of CEO, Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), the GSTN will not be fully operational on the 1st of July, 2017. This being the status of preparedness of the GSTN, the taxpayers would find it very difficult to comply with GST requirements from July 1, 2017… We believe that industry deserves some more time and assistance to get prepared for GST implementation,” Assocham said

The GSTN, a not for profit Company incorporated on March 28, 2013, is tasked to provide IT infrastructure and services to the Central and State Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of the GST.

Rawat said that during the current phase of GST migration for existing assessees, the server was constantly under maintenance.

There are at present about 80 lakh excise, service tax and VAT assessees, of which 64.35 lakh have already migrated to the portal of GST Network.

However, ASSOCHAM is not the first to raise questions about the GSTN’s readiness for the GST rollout.

On June 3, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra also said the rollout of the GST can be delayed by a few days as the preparedness of the GSTN is unsatisfactory. (ANI)