Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering him 101 suggestions to plug the gaps in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation and help alleviate problems faced by businesses.
In his letter, Singh congratulated Modi on his spectacular win in the recent Lok Sabha elections and welcomed his resolve to speedily take the country on a trajectory of high growth and social justice.
The Chief Minister said he looked forward to working with Modi to bring prosperity to the people of India as well as the state.
Specifically, the Chief Minister made several suggestions to help improve state GST collections and narrow their revenue deficit. According to him, State Goods and Service Tax rate should be higher than Central Goods and Service Tax so that the states do not suffer huge deficits.
He also suggested an amnesty scheme to overcome the aberrations that led to serious confusion in the business circles in the initial phase of GST implementation, and said there was no need to continue with VAT legacy issues, which should find a sunset clause.
Pointing out that India had the dubious distinction of being among the five countries in the world that have four or more non-zero GST rates, the Chief Minister called for, ideally, a single GST rate, but said it should include not more than two rates for any chapter and not more than one rate at four-digit level of any chapter sub-heading.
“This will ensure harmonisation of tax rate across similar supplies and avoid classification disputes besides opportunities to evade,” he said giving the example of different tax rates under various modes of transport.
The Chief Minister has also suggested widening the GST net to include electricity, real estate and petroleum to make it a win-win situation for the states as well as businesses.