Union minister of railways and coal Piyush Goyal on Sunday conceded the possibility of further reduction in the goods and services tax (GST).“GST rates on 384 goods and 68 services have been brought down in the 29th GST Council meeting held last week. We are open to suggestions from the trade and industry bodies to boost industrial and business activities in the country, including Bihar,” he said.
The minister was addressing industry representatives at an interaction programme organised by the Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Patna, where 100 businessmen and trade and industry representatives urged him to consider their concerns about GST and give suggestions on improving the railway services in Bihar.Goyal, who is holding additional charge of finance minister as Arun Jaitley is recuperating from kidney replacement, also cautioned tax evaders. “The Modi government has adopted a zero-tolerance policy for tax evaders. The Prevention of Corruption Act now has more teeth,” he warned.
He claimed that the biggest tax reform in the history of India had brought much-awaited simplification in the indirect tax regime to boost business and industrial activities across the country.He said the objective of bringing GST was to create a simplified indirect tax regime to prevent evasion and a system in which there are lesser chances of discretionary powers of tax officials.Those found harassing taxpayers will face government action, he promised.Chamber convener Alok Poddar suggested late fee applicable on late filing of returns be waived off, and said it would widen the taxpayer base.Goyal said: “Trade and industry representatives should not bother, as the central government is working for ease of doing business from the very first day it came to power.”He also said technical glitches in the GST portal would be resolved but will take time.