Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has integrated the country by bringing the states together and instilling uniformity in the taxation system.
The Finance Minister, who also paid his tribute to Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee on his birth anniversary, lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of integrating the country financially through the introduction of the GST.
"The nation was integrated politically, not economically. With the GST, the states have come together and there is now a tax uniformity across the states. Moving from one tax authority to another is also a form of harassment of taxpayers. With the new tax regime, things will be simplified," he said, while addressing the GST-Delhi Sambodhan event here.
Jaitley also asserted that the GST, which is being discussed worldwide, will also help in curtailing corruption and ensure greater tax compliance.
"All states and union territories complied with the GST, except Jammu and Kashmir. The States and the Centre made their norms and powers respectively. However, in the GST council meetings, it was decided that the governance will be done jointly, so that the cooperation between the two would increase," he said.
"I had written to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and told her that she will have to face the consequences of not complying with the GST. It is better if they understand the importance of financial integration. I had told her that taxes would be levied on all products, and therefore, goods would become more expensive. Therefore, I asked her to think of whether she wants to deny compliance or help her natives," Jaitley added.
He also added that with the new tax regime, India has now been integrated into a single-tax market. Taxpayers will also not have to approach multiple tax authorities to file returns, since only one tax filing has to be taken up. Taxpayers who comply with the norms will also be given their assessment forms online itself, thus reducing their direct contact with tax authorities.
Talking about the production of commodities, Jaitley asserted that the price of raw materials come built into the price of the finished product, and if a tax is paid on the same, one can avail returns on it, thus reducing the chances of double taxation.
This, according to Jaitley, will make commodities cheaper.
"A tax on a commodity is levied including input credit. However, a percentage of it is reduced, which is then reimbursed as returns," added Jaitley.
Launching an attack on the Congress, Jaitley said although they supported the entire journey of the GST, they were 'nervous' towards the end of the outcome.
"The Congress supported us throughout the journey and attended all council meetings. But towards the end, they got nervous. Somewhere, they felt that this would not be successful," he said, adding that the success would not be possible without the backing of the Prime Minister Modi.
The Finance Minister also said any problems with the implementation should be immediately raised so that they are rectified.