GST Council meet today; traders' worries may be eased out
New Delhi: Some measures to ease the difficulties being faced by traders owing to GST are likely to be announced after the GST Council's meeting on Friday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP President Amit Shah here and discussed the state of the economy and steps to revive growth.
While Amit Shah cut short his tour of Kerala, Jaitley returned from Dhaka for the meeting with Modi, who on Wednesday night put up a strong defence of the government's handling of the economy and hit back at critics saying they were spreading pessimism all round.
Jaitley himself refused to disclose anything about the discussions at the Prime Minister's meeting with him and the party president.
It is understood that after the GST council meeting on Friday, there could be announcements like easier refund of input credit for exporters, deferring of reverse charge mechanism for unregistered traders and promise of no enquiry into the tax matters of the previous VAT regime of indirect taxes.
In his speech at the Institute of Company Secretaries here on Thursday, the Prime Minister had promised the traders that the government would not dig into the past through any retrospective investigation of traders joining the formal economy.
Addressing concerns arising out of teething troubles in implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), he said his government was committed to removing the bottlenecks.
"After three months of GST implementation, we have seen what has happened. There have been difficulties in filing and technology problems. I have told the GST Council that they carry out a full review of things and whatever is needed to bring it back on track. We are not adamant. Whatever changes are required, the government is with you."
The meeting also discussed steps needed to revive growth in the context of the sharp slowdown in growth witnessed during the first quarter following which the government's handling of the economy, especially after demonetisation, came under all round attack.
In a bid to moderate inflation, the government on Tuesday cut the excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 a litre each.