Kolkata: Implemented properly, GST will not just bring in transparency; but lower costs, according to Bijay Kumar, Chief Commissioner of GST, Central Excise and Customs, Kolkata Zone.
We have undertaken a sectoral study and our assessment suggests that there will be an overall reduction in cost if GST is implemented properly, Kumar said at a Conclave on Godds and Services Tax, organised by BusinessLine in the city on Saturday.
The GST conclave was attended by KGVN Surya Teja, Joint Commissioner of GST, Central Excise and Customs, Kolkata Zone; DD Chatterjee, Superintendent CGST; JB Datta, Assistant Commissioner of CGST and CX; Anil Tiwari, assistant general manager, State Bank of India, Bengal Circle; and chartered accountants Subham Khaitan and Manish Gadia.
While GST in its ideal form should not have multiple tax slabs, it cannot be done away with in a country like India. India is a country where there is wide disparity between different income groups. At this juncture, we are not in a position to have a single-rate structure, Kumar said.
Talking about the impact of GST on iron and steel sector, DD Chatterjee, Superintendent CGST, said that there is likely to be a 30-40 per cent reduction in the transportation time. This would eventually bring about a proportionate reduction in the cost of logistics.
The net cost reduction could be to the tune of two per cent not just for iron and steel but for other metal industries as well, he said.
A single taxation authority would make compliance easier and will bring about a better integrated credit chain. The cascading effect of tax on end consumer will also be done away with, Chatterjee pointed out.
The textile industry had to face different levels of taxation at four different stages fibre, yarn, fabric and apparel. Though that would be done away with under GST, however, the net average cost may be marginally higher mainly due to the higher tax incidence on readymade garments.
According to KGVN Surya Teja, Joint Commissioner of GST, Central Excise and Customs, Kolkata Zone, under the new GST regime, the Department was more focussed on facilitation job rather than that of enforcement.
The Department organised more than 350 outreach programmes to sensitise businesses about GST. The efforts have yielded results with Kolkata ruling at the top of the list of new registrations under GST.
The window for new registrations, which opened on July 7, was meant for entities which were not registered under VAT, excise and service tax.
West Bengal accounts for nearly 10 per cent of the total number of new registrations recorded from across the country. We have undertaken more than 350 outreach programmes. We have also reached out to schools, Teja said.
Fund flow to banks
The implementation of GST would reduce instances of tax evasion and will improve the fund flow into banking system, said Anil Tiwari, assistant general manager, State Bank of India, Bengal Circle.
We have set up three help desks in West Bengal to help our customers understand GST. The journey so far has been satisfactory, he said.
All the 24,000 branches of SBI were enabled for GST before the actual rollout on July 1. There were some initial glitches but those have reduced over time, he pointed out.
Chartered accountants Manish Gadia and Subham Khaitan delved into the finer nuances of filing returns under GST. They also addressed the queries of those present at the conclave.