As the stipulated date for the rollout of Goods and Services Tax GST on July 01st approaches, it is still unclear what the practical challenges could be. Let us admit that this is going to be one of the biggest national tax exercises undertaken in recent memory. Subsuming a plethora of central and state taxes into a single GST is not going to be easy. The technical, logistical and IT challenges are going to much more complex. But then, all change is going to be disruptive and more so in case of a project of the size and magnitude of GST. It needs to be appreciated that irrespective of whether the implementation actually commences in July or later, the challenges are unlikely to go way.
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A truck in India covers an annual average distance of 85, km as compared to 1,50, to 2,00, km in advanced countries which pose a clear indication that our logistics industry needs some reforms. Now the introduction of GST is expected to increase the need for integrated logistics arrangements as companies decrease the number of warehouses they keep up in different states. The changes achieved by GST are likewise expected to solve one of the significant problems this sector faces — the inter-state transport of goods without the hassle of documentation and long holding up queues at check posts. Compliance has been the bane of the Indian logistics industry for some time now. The waybills obtained currently from VAT authorities are famous for restricting movement of goods crosswise over states. The CBEC has already released a detailed guideline on the use of e-way bills which drill down the accompanying compliances:.
It seeks to subsume all indirect taxes levied on goods and services by the Central and State governments. GST, a destination-based indirect tax, levies on manufacture, sale, and consumption of both goods as well as services. It provides a single and cooperative linkup between Indian markets to boost the economy.
In recent times, India has been abuzz with criticism on its archaic taxation structure and there is push for a simpler, flat tax structure that will potentially do away with the complicated policy. As the next level policy reform in indirect taxation, Goods and services tax GST has taken a centre stage in this respect and is hoped to iron out the wrinkles in the existing tax system. Historically, India has relied too much on indirect taxation because of political compulsions, an agrarian economy, low income levels and lack of infrastructure to track personal income. In order to simplify and rationalize indirect tax structures, government of India attempted various tax policy reforms at different points of time.