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GST matters: CAG hits the nail on the head. The realities back up

Billed as a good and simple tax, GST needs a feel good factor. The sooner the government realises, the better.

August 02, 2019 / 12:44 PM IST

Arjun Raghavendra M

In the context of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the art of impossible got ratified twice. First, on July 1, 2017, with its introduction and second, on May 23, 2019, with the return of the Modi sarkar, defying the global trend of governments enacting GST and losing the next immediate election.

The first ever audit report on GST, tabled on July 30, acknowledged the magnitude of the tax transformation and offered constructive criticism to realise the full potential of the reform. The report highlights concerns, including the incomplete task pertaining to the non-intrusive e-tax system, slowdown in revenue growth (10 percent drop), the declining trend in the number of returns filed (April – December 2018), issues surrounding the IT network GSTN, lack of coordination between various arms of the government, operational deficiencies in the payment module, problems in IGST settlement, input tax credit (ITC) frauds and delay in the processing of refunds.

“On the whole, the envisaged GST tax compliance system is non-functional,” stated the report.