Calling the Goods and Services Tax (GST) a "great step towards transparency," Union minister Smriti Irani on 22 July urged the business community to become a part of this historic tax reform.
"GST is not only a good and simple tax, but also a great step towards transformation. Let us make history and be a part of it, so that we can tell our future generations that we never evaded tax," she said.
Irani was addressing businesspersons at a function on GST here.
"When I say GST is a great steps towards transparency, what does that mean? How many consumers before GST knew what all taxes they paid? How much VAT, excise, multi-tax you were paying that you did not know of?
"Now with GST, as consumers and taxpayers, you are informed that this is the part of economy you contribute," the textile and information and broadcasting minister said.
"(The effort is) how to expand manufacturing base, how to expand base of tax, and build infrastructure so that people do not evade paying tax."
Irani said GST was supported by all political parties in Parliament which is a rare achievement.
"The GST Council is one place where all political parties spoke in one voice, and through consensus supported GST, which is something you do not get to see in Parliament."
She said the government will ensure traders, who have been protesting against the new tax regime that came into force on July 1, are not harassed.
"Traders and manufacturers have some apprehension. The government has said time and again that those who want to come into formal economy need not fear. If any (tax) official harasses you, let us know, we will ensure you are not harassed," the minister maintained.
Taking a dig at opposition Congress, Irani said those who are criticising GST are the same people who gained when this tax system was not in place. They are now trying to create fear against the new tax regime among traders.
GST actually subsumes 72 taxes and 17 cesses. Post the new tax regime, trucks no longer have to stop at checkpoints to pay octroi (entry tax), she said.
On input tax credit, Irani said the provision is to give money back for paying GST.
"That is one element of GST, which is giving you back for being a productive Indian, and for being an honest Indian. And I am hopeful that more and more Indians will help each other in understanding GST," she said.