Admitting that the Goods and Service Tax (GST) may be flawed, Finance Nirmala Sitharaman said that the GST cannot just be ‘damned’ now as it has been passed in the Parliament.
These comments were made as the FM was meeting with chartered accountants, company secretaries and other professionals from the financial sector in Pune.
She was responding to a member of the Cost Accountants Association who suggested that people have been cursing the government over the complexity of the taxation regime.
“In this country, after a long time with so many parties in the Parliament and state governments working together, we came up with the GST. Suddenly we can’t say “what a goddamn structure it is”. It has only been two years. I wish from day one it met with your satisfaction, But I’m sorry it hasn’t,” she said in response to the accounting professional’s comments.
#WATCH Finance Min during interaction with businessmen,entrepreneurs,CAs&others in Pune:We just can't damn GST now. It has been passed in Parliament&in state assemblies. It might have flaws,it might probably give you difficulties but I'm sorry,it's the 'kanoon' of the country now pic.twitter.com/tAPcQmHh5H— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
She further added that while the GST may have its flaws, it’s the ‘kanoon’ (law) of this country. She appealed to the professionals at the gathering to work together to have a better framework and to give better solutions around areas such as compliance.
The accounting professional too, said that he has five suggestions for the Finance Minister, which could address the ‘real problems’ of GST without actually changing the structure.
After receiving backlash over her comments, the minister defended her statement on Twitter in response to ANI’s tweet saying, “Request ANI to upload the question too, wherein the participant from the audience spoke completely deriding GST. Had halted him to say that he’s welcome to give suggestions; and on his request to meet me with a delegation, gave him October 23, 2019 from the dais itself.”
Request @ANI to upload the question too, wherein the participant from the audience spoke completely deriding #GST. Had halted him to say that he’s welcome to give suggestions & on his request to meet me with a delegation, gave him 23rd Oct ‘19 even from the dais. @FinMinIndia— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) October 11, 2019
The accounting professional, who has been identified as BM Sharma, as per a PTI report, later explained to the news agency what he was trying to convey. “I said that the objective of GST was to ease of doing business, reduce tax complexities, rationalise 13 taxes, and reduce litigation and corruption. But the same is not being achieved due to several problems and industries and professionals are complaining now.”
The Finance Minister reportedly asked him to meet her in Delhi.