GSTN: The pain of doing business in India – Part 3

GSTN - It is the revenue that matters

GSTN - It is the revenue that matters
GSTN - It is the revenue that matters

Part 1 of this series can be accessed here. Part 2 talks about The mystery behind missing numbers. This is Part 3.

Will the Finance Ministry act? Maybe away from the toxic gas chambers of Delhi while vacationing in Guwahati with their families, the officers can advise the Ministers appropriately.

More than 100 amendments have been made to the rules and after tinkering with the tariff structures multiple times, Hasmukh Adhia, Revenue Secretary has made a public statement saying that the GST rates need to be overhauled. As the officers of the Union Finance Ministry and all state Governments head towards the council meeting-cum-vacation in Guwahati, here are 10 points that we think that need to be addressed without any further delay

  1. GSTN has failed – In a press release dated 30th October 2017, the Ministry of Finance has stated “The last date for filing of GSTR-2 for the month of July, 2017 is 31st October, 2017. The competent authority has approved the extension of filing of GSTR2 for July 2017 to 30th November 2017, for facilitation of businesses and all taxpayers. This will facilitate about 30.81 lakh taxpayers for filing GSTR-2 for the month of July 2017.”

    What this precisely means is that 30.81 lakh taxpayers have blatantly refused to file the returns. This “I don’t care about the return process” attitude is not just disturbing but is scary. In the said press statement, the Ministry, as always, has suppressed the detail pertaining to the number of taxpayers who are expected to file the GSTR 1. Long story short – the GSTR 1 – 2 – 3 cycle has failed. And it has failed miserably. Even after 100 days the first cycle of returns pertaining to July 2017 is not happening. Do we need a better reason to shut the shop here and think of a better process to be put in place?
  2. GSTN Management has failed – It is high time to fix responsibility. The traders body has demanded a CBI enquiry into GSTN.

    GSTN has failed “only” because it is an orphan in your drawing hall. Neither the Central Government nor any State Governments have showed any interest in GSTN. PGurus has documented this in detail in the past. When will the CEO of GSTN be sacked?
  3. Exporters continue to bleed – Exports Committee was constituted under the leadership of the Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Commerce Secretary Rita Teotia. In the usual style, tweets were sent out and a huge buzz was created trying to communicate that “all is well”. Let us stop for a minute and assess the ground reality. Out of the Rs. 6000 crore refunds to be sanctioned to the small businesses in India, it is learnt that most exporters have not yet got the refunds. Who is responsible? Will the Finance Ministry wait till the exporters hit the road with – “my refund is my right” – campaign? If the officers cannot do it, let it be given to a Group of Ministers, who can come out with expeditious solutions.
  4. Rates need an overhaul – 28% rates are bleeding the businesses which are already hit by various other uncertainties. Multiple rates are harming the idea of GST. Instead of bringing piecemeal reforms in the rate structures, the Government must bring in a comprehensive overhaul of the rate structure. Enough is enough.
  5. Amendments to the GST laws – The panic button needs to be pressed and we must immediately stop this stupid act of suspending various provisions of the law – like Reverse charge mechanism – and instead work for a comprehensive amendment of the law. It is a fact that the amended version may look so alien to the old version, but the earlier the better.
  6. The empathy that the taxpayer deserves – The attitude of the Tax administrator in the GST era needs a fundamental transformation. We need to acknowledge that every taxpayer is not out there to evade taxes and if we begin a new journey with a bond of trust, this will help the economy.
  7. Come clean with the facts – Why is the Finance Ministry concealing GST data? Can they please put it in public domain – Total number of returns filed and expected to be filed for the months of July, August and September 2017 – up to date, along with the revenue figures. This will answer a lot of issues PGurus has been raking up against the GSTN. Is it a deliberate attempt to suppress information and manage the media in the process?
  8. It’s the revenue stupid – What is the Central Government revenue figures for the months of July, August and September 2017? The press statements released by the Ministry are conveniently talking about the gross GST revenue and is completely silent on refunds (IGST and CGST), settlement of IGST figures, compensation paid to the states and the issue of transition credit. Is the figure so scary that the Revenue Department is going overdrive to suppress it from the country? The nation wants to know the net figures.
  9. Stop the e-way bill – This is the greatest GST disaster waiting to happen. If the Government goes ahead with the proposal of the e-way bill in the next few months, this may lead to a disastrous collapse of various small and medium industries.
  10. Before it is too late – It is a well-established fact that in most cases, a well-oiled machinery has been set in place from the manufacturing to the retail and hence the question of not opting for a bill and indulging in various other means to avoid payment of taxes is getting rampant. Even scarier is the scenario where the taxes are collected but not submitted to the exchequer. If the Government does not step in and assure the public that there is no pilferage of taxes, there may be an alarming scenario where an honest citizen may opt to pay in cash and say no to the bill. Is the Finance Ministry listening?

Will the Finance Ministry act? Maybe away from the toxic gas chambers of Delhi, while vacationing in Guwahati with their families, the officers can advise the Ministers appropriately. This story continues…

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Team PGurus


  1. I do not understand the use of the words, ‘it is scary’. If GSTR 1 has not been filed yet and a lot of GSTR 2 etc are pending and if taxpayers have collected the tax but have not filed their returns, it is not scary at all. It is the only way they can protest against a buggy, ill-prepared software. And corrections will come. The government is responsive.

    This talk about ‘industries will shut down’ is actually scare-mongering. Those who start industries with the intention of making a business of providing some product or service to society are made of stern stuff and they will not shut down during the experimental phase of a changing taxation system.

    You have made valid points. Let the Finance Ministry respond. Let us all pledge to work together to make them respond.


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