A further simplification of the Goods and Services Tax structure could help increase revenue and foster better tax compliance, according to N K Singh, chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, who also called for better coordination between the finance commission and GST Council to better monitor, scrutinize and optimize revenue. The veteran policy advisor said that though GST was introduced in record time, the next level would be to simplify the structure and minimize the cost compliance. “If you do not simplify GST, you will be defeating the purpose and intention of why we took this far-reaching step of having a GST which enables better compliance, virtues for all stakeholders” Singh, said in response to question by SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar, after delivering the L K Jha memorial lecture at the RBI headquarters in Mumbai on Friday.
“The cumbersomeness of compliance is one of the important factors why I believe there is a huge scope of improving the revenue realization from GST. equally, I do believe that the frequency with which the rates have been changed is unbelievable.” Speaking on the general condition of state government finances, Singh highlighted the disparity between the states in terms of their financial conditions. He also underscored that the states had their limitation on fiscal profligacy as there were bound by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act stipulations, which restricts them to maintain a minimum level of fiscal deficit. Another external constraint is that they need the Centre’s permission for excess borrowings.