In this segment of the Narendra Modi interview to Swarajya, the Prime Minister talks about the goods and services tax, and how it is changing the way India does business. (Read the previous part of the interview here)
Swarajya: A year ago, you launched the GST claiming it as a good and simple tax. We believe it is certainly a good tax, but critics say it is too complex. They say that the tax should ideally have had one single rate. Your comments.
Narendra Modi: Trust Swarajya to begin with a leading economic question.
It would have been very simple to have just one slab but it would have meant we could not have food items at zero per cent tax rate. Can we have milk and Mercedes at the same rate? So, when our friends in Congress say that they will have just one GST rate, they are effectively saying they will tax food items and commodities, which are currently at zero or 5 per cent, at 18 per cent.
Swarajya: What are the benefits so far, according to you?
Modi: Let me start with some numbers.
The number of enterprises registered from Independence until now was 66 lakh. In just one year after the introduction of GST, the number of new enterprises registered is 48 lakh. Around 350 crore invoices were processed and 11 crore returns were filed. Would we be looking at such numbers, if GST were indeed very complex?
Check-posts across the country have been abolished and there are no more queues at state borders. Not only are truck drivers saving precious time but also the logistics sector is getting a boost and thereby increasing the productivity of our country. Would this be happening if GST was complex?