Reiterating his stand against the July 1 roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST), West Bengal finance minister, Amit Mitra, on Thursday said the GST hasn’t benefitted either the exporters or the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the country. Besides, the transition to GST hasn’t been smooth.
“I had repeatedly said to postpone the launch of July 1. What is the impact? It is everyday postponements. They are saying that the Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) could not take the load, this is what I had predicted but they did not pay heed to that,” he said during an interactive session with industry body Assocham.
Mitra alleged that the GSTN has to handle around 300-340 crores of up-linking and the government tested it with 200 companies per state, of which 30 per cent “didn’t work well”.
The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government is one of the sharpest critics of the July 1 roll-out of the GST. The government’s stance is based on the projection that the MSME segment in particular, which is yet to understand GST, will be hit hard. Also, the state government had questioned the country’s preparedness to meet the July 1 deadline.
“MSMEs are in jeopardy and now I come to know that even exports have been hit. I have asked Union Finance Minister (Arun) Jaitley to produce a white paper and call an emergency meeting. The matter has to be taken up at the GST council. People are desperate,” he added.
The state finance minister also urged industry bodies like Assocham to speak out in case the industry faces difficulties and their associations are unable to voice their concerns on the problems faced in the wake of the GST roll-out. Mitra further, asked the industry body to provide him with inputs so that the ongoing issues can be taken up at the right forum.