Rules and regulations governing GST have been approved: Jaitley
Aamir H Kaki
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday that the government is now in the final stages of fixing tariffs for different items and that the rules and regulations governing GST have been approved.
“We are now in the final stages of fixing tariffs for different commodities. The formula under which it is being done has also been explained and therefore nobody is going to be taken by surprise. It's not going to be very significantly different and rules and regulations governing GST have been framed,” Jaitley said while inaugurating the Annual Session, 2017 of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the theme ‘Future of Globalisation: Can India Lead’.
The finance minister released the CII Reports on Transparency in Real Estate Sector and Ethics in Healthcare Sector and launched the CII Centre for Arbitration and Mediation.
He said that the rates under the GST regime will not be significantly different from existing levels and suggested that there will be minimal disruption when the new regime is rolled out on July 1.
Jaitley informed that in all the 14 meetings of the GST Council, all the states have unanimously agreed on the structure.
“And therefore all the states representing different political complexions, have all agreed on the GST structure,” he said.
Jaitley said the GST council is of the view that any benefit accruing from lower tax rates under GST should be passed on to the consumers.
“Profit is not a bad word but unfair enrichment is. And therefore the benefit of reduction in taxation is a benefit that consumers are entitled to. And that's not a principle that can be seriously contested,” he said.
The Finance Minister said the process of doing away with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is almost complete and this will prepare the ground for more reforms in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy.
“I am now in the final stages of doing away with the FIPB because 90% of the investment in India comes under the automatic route. So for the balance 10%, do we need multiple forums to give approval, or we need just one forum in one ministry?”, he said.
“Efforts are being made to simplify the direct and indirect tax structure,” he added.
Jaitley, who is also the Defence Minister, said a policy to encourage domestic defence manufacturing is almost ready.
“We are in advanced stages of formulating a policy where we can ensure that instead of just being buyers. On the strength of technological and other tie-ups, India also becomes a manufacturing economy,” he said.
“India is the world's largest arms importer, spending around 1.8% of its GDP on defence. It imports about 70% of defence equipment, a proposition which the government wants to change,” Jaitley said.
“The response that we got from domestic as well as international industry has been quite encouraging itself,” he added.
On the theme of the event, Jaitley said that at a time of protectionist measures taken by the developed world, India can become the leading proponent of globalisation only if the country improves on its manufacturing.
“On whether we can lead the process of globalisation, if for three years in a row we can be among the fastest growing economies in the world. On services, we are among the leaders,” he said.
“But the question is, can we improve our manufacturing?”, he added.