The implementation of the GST tax regime was going to be a run against time since the government had set stiff targets, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday at the Economist India Summit. Jaitley called the GST a transformational step.
The Minister said, “The rate should be so revenue neutral that it should be adequate enough to maintain current levels of government revenues both at Centre and state, keeping in mind the trend of buoyancy that takes place year after year.
“But is should still be reasonable enough not to impose any unreasonable burden on the tax-payers itself,” he added.
Jaitley hailed the GST as a long-standing reform in indirect taxation but iterated that the government’s first priority was the health of public sector banks. He said that the new tax regime would bring down tax rates in the long run and stabilise them.
The minister said that while the tax reform has been delayed, it had never been abandoned. “The advantages of reforms are the advantages of growth,” Jaitley said.
He said the government’s top economic policy priorities were to pass the Goods and Services Tax, revive the banking sector and get infrastructure projects that had been stalled moving.
Jaitley said that while the Indian economy had registered a 7.1% growth in the last quarter, “We are still far below our best.”