Parliament watch: Measures to push GST mopup : 17-03-2021

The Parliamentary standing committee on finance sought that the government initiates all possible structural and enforcement related measures to shore up GST collections, in order to make up for the compensation requirement for states amid loss in revenue collections due to the Covid 19 pandemic. It noted, however, that collections were on the rise in recent months, it recommended in its report on demand for grants for 2021-22. The committee asked the department to further curb the menace of fake invoicing and eliminate revenue leakage.

“Greater awareness about the GST structure and punitive action in case of non-compliance needs to be created among the assessees on a wider scale,” the committee headed by Jayant Sinha, added in its report presented in Rajya Sabha, Tuesday. The committee added that higher revenue would have to be generated through tighter enforcement and higher compliance given that raising tax rates would have counter-productive economic impact. For giving impetus to reducing litigation and resolving issues for small taxpayers, “a dispute resolution committee is proposed to be constituted which will be faceless to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability,” the committee said. A review of the faceless regime for appellate tribunals should be done in due course, it added.

The committee has also suggested that the finance ministry should ‘extensively advertise and publicise’ the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme such that it reaches to maximum beneficiaries since current Budget Estimates for indirect taxes for FY 22 of Rs 21,359.27 crore includes a new provision of Rs 13,000 crore for RoDTEP, which is more than 60% of the total grant. The committee sought concrete mitigating action to fix the issue of erratic budget allocation as in  some fiscals’ expenditure has been less than allocation yet budgets have been scaled up in subsequent years.

BPCL Dividend
The government has received nearly Rs 11,268 crore as annual dividend from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) for the last five years since 2015-16, minister of state for finance Anurag Singh Thakur said in Rajya Sabha Tuesday. In FY20, the government received Rs 2821 crore while the highest dividend receipt was in FY17 of Rs 3098 crore.

No decision yet
The government has not yet taken any decision in regard to strategic disinvestment of BHEL and Andrew Yule & Co. Ltd, minister of state for finance Anurag Singh Thakur said in Rajya Sabha Tuesday. NITI Aayog is mandated to identify central public sector firms for strategic disinvestment based on the criteria of national security, sovereign function at arm’s length, market imperfections and public purpose.

Poverty eradication by 2030: Tomar
Rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government has set the target to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030. The national indicator developed for this target is proportion of population living below the national poverty line is 21.92% (2011-12) and poverty gap ratio, at 5.05% for rural and 2.70% for urban. “In so far as the ministry of rural development is concerned, multi-pronged strategies have been adopted to address rural poverty and improve the economic well-being of people in rural areas through several centrally sponsored schemes being operated by the Centre,” Tomar said.

Faceless assessment
Till 10th March, 2021, a total of 82,072 assessment cases have been completed in faceless manner, minister of state for finance Anurag Singh Thakur said in Rajya Sabha Tuesday.

GST on electricity
The GST Council has not made any fresh recommendations on levying GST rate on electricity, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Tuesday in a written response in Rajya Sabha. “No fresh recommendation has been made by the GST Council on the issue of GST rate on electricity,” she said.

MGNREGS jobs up 40%
Rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar said 40% more employment has been generated till March 12 in the current fiscal at 363 crore persondays under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme against year-ago period. “Fund release to states/UTs is a continuous process and the central government is committed to making funds available keeping in view the demand for work,” minister Tomar said.

Bad bank in focus
A parliamentary committee has suggested that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) can play an instrumental role in success of the proposed bad bank. Headed by former minister of state for finance, Jayant Sinha the committee opined in its report that the central bank can issue an order or notification to make the entire process crystal clear thus removing any ambiguity or discretion from the bank side. The committee appreciated the proposed ARC-AMC model for resolution of stressed assets but emphasised that a regulatory intervention at this stage, “will eventually further streamline and add more pace to achieve the objective of resolution of stressed assets.” The committee also suggested that administrative processes must be fast tracked so that disinvestment targets are fully achieved.

No Railway privatisation
The Indian Railways will never be privatised, and will always remain a government-owned entity, union railways minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday. Goyal, however, stressed on the need for encouraging private participation in the National transporter . “The country can progress towards high growth and create more employment opportunities only when the public and private sectors work together,” Goyal said in response to a discussion in Rajya Sabha. Investment in railways has been hiked to Rs 2.15 lakh crore in 2021-22 fiscal, from Rs 1.5 lakh crore in 2019-20 fiscal. “The existing passenger train services shall not be affected by the operation of Passenger train services through PPP mode,” Goyal said in a written response in the Rajya Sabha.

CSR funds not used for govt schemes
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds are not used for implementing the government’s central schemes, the government on Tuesday informed Parliament. Minister of state for finance Anurag Singh Thakur said there was a clear definition in the Schedule 7 of the Companies Act, where all CSR funds can be spent. “I want to say the funds are not used for implementing government schemes… There should not be a myth that CSR funds are used for implementing government schemes,” he said

Source : Financial Express

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