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Govt to go soft on GST monitoring for a few months, let traders settle down
June, 15th 2017

There will be some leniency in monitoring and implementation of the new goods and services tax in initial months to allow businesses to settle into the new tax regime, a review of GST preparations by a group of senior ministers was told.

The discussions held on Wednesday saw the ministers being given a presentation of the planning done by the government so far, with officials informing that more than 4,500 meetings had been held all over the country to familiarise traders and businesses with the landmark tax reform.

With the review going over feedback such as lack of internet connectivity in some parts which could affect uploading of data and the sheer novelty of the new measures, the ministers were assured that the government will provide leeway in the initial rollout period.

"The idea is to allow all concerned to understand the operational requirements and we understand that there will be some teething troubles. The government machinery will give time for the system to fall in place," said a minister.

The government has pointed out that internet connectivity will be tackled where it is a chronic problem but the process of updating records will not be more than a day or two of work for traders. Similarly, the session saw officials point out that reports that GST will need frequent filing are not correct and the system will be more userfriendly as months go by.

The deliberations were intended to check for possible loopholes and anticipate problems that need to be addressed. The government is banking on the tax reform to invigorate the economy and is sensitive to bad press miring the effort.

Though there have been several exercises to prepare for the rollout, ministers agreed that there is a lot that may not be fully anticipated and there is need for a quick response. The perception battle will see BJP ministers and organisation engage in a major outreach and this has been the subject of planning in the government as well.

Got to go slow and careful sensible after implementation of something completely new

PMModi has urged ministers and the officials concerned to ensure a massive outreach over the GST and ensure that its benefits are fully explained. The review also discussed measures to take the message to both consumers and businesses and improve compliance in an effort to win the perception battle.

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