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GST far from perfect? Chidambaram says yes, calls for October 1 rollout
April, 11th 2017

Any rush to roll out GST by July 1 could prove harmful, Chidambaram cautioned while batting for an October implementation of the new tax regime.

The Good and Services Tax (GST) Bills are far from perfect and are not ready for implementation yet, according to former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Any rush to roll out GST by July 1 could prove harmful, he cautioned while batting for an October implementation of the new tax regime.

"I personally think October 1, the second half of the financial year, is the correct date," he said.

Chidambaram said the Bills still have some ?imperfections?, including the multiplicity of rates, compliance provisions and a lack of clarity on compoundable offence.

"I think people should be given enough time to adjust. The second aspect is that the GSTN has to be proved in a trial. The Finance Minister spoke of 30 billion invoices a day. If that number if right, it is a humongous number. Is the GSTN capable of processing all that without glitches? I think the GSTN should be allowed to run it on a trial basis for a month or two before you actually launch GST," he told The Financial Express.

The septuagenarian appeared unconvinced by the Centre and states' decision to bring petroleum and electricity under GST. Why wasn't the government able to persuade states in this front he asked.

Chidambaram also raised questions over the 14 percent revenue figure for states that the government has assured. If this 14 percent has to be achieved, many goods could fall under the higher rate of 28 percent.

The GST Bill have an anti-profiteering provision which ensures reduction of tax incidence is passed on to the customers. ?There is no definition of anti-profiteering, they are going to set up an authority, that authority will devise its own procedure. It?s clearly open to abuse,? he told the paper.

Also, there are separate bodies that deal with cases of profiteering already. In this case, why should an income tax official be given the right to take decision, which ideally should have be in hands, he asked.

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