Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday urged the customs department to make cross-border trade easier in an effort to improve the country’s standing in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking. Additionally, he said the goods and services tax (GST) had stabilised in a very short time, which provided an opportunity to cut indirect tax rates further. In the past three years, India’s position on World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking improved to 100 from 142, Jaitley said.
He added that the customs department could help improve upon the overall rankings to within 50 by aligning processes involved in cross-border trade with that of World Bank’s criteria. Jaitley was speaking at an event to mark the International Customs Day. Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said customs department could improve cross-border trade ranking in two years. Separately, speaking on GST, Jaitley said the new indirect tax regime had brought about an entire change in the indirect tax system in the country.
“Therefore, it gives us an opportunity in the times to come to increase its base and rationalise the structure as it continues to evolve,” he said.
At present, the GST has four rates of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. Since the new system was rolled out in July, the GST Council has reduced rates of over 400 items in five installments. However, the impact of rate reduction, along with suspension of anti-evasion measures?e-way bill, reverse charge mechanism and invoice-matching?has seen GST collections tumble to its lowest in November to Rs 80,808 crore.
The collection in the first three months were above Rs 90,000 crore, but started to decline in October. However, halting two months of decline, the collections gathered momentum in December, rising to Rs 86,703 crore.Share: