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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Lok Sabha: 'Govt to bring a bill to amend Excise and Customs Act, along with 4 bills on GST'

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Said In Lok Sabha On Wednesday That No Arbitrary Power Will Be Provided To The Income Tax Department And The Government Has No Plans To Tax The Income Of Farmers.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Bindiya Bhatt | Updated on: 22 Mar 2017, 05:48:17 PM
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Lok Sabha

New Delhi:

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday that no arbitrary power will be provided to the Income Tax department and the government has no plans to tax the income of farmers.

Here are the highlights of his speech:

#The Finance Bill has been passed in Lok Sabha

#Govt to bring a bill to amend Excise and Customs Act, along with 4 bills on GST 

#We are moving towards a time when there will be no shadow economy but some are still seeing virtues of cash transactions

#No arbitrary power will be given to Tax Dept; no plans to tax farmers' income

#Tax buoyancy has improved in the last 2 years

Hopeful of the GST rollout from July 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said earlier on Wednesday that it will create one of the world’s biggest single markets and make commodities cheaper and tax evasion difficult.

Speaking at the 23rd Conference of the Commonwealth Auditor General, Jaitley said India has “hugely” a non-tax compliant society and the government banned higher denomination notes to curb the tendency of people to deal in cash that lead to tax evasion as well as terror financing.

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He said the reform measures undertaken by the government will help India clock 7-8 per cent growth and retain the tag of fastest growing major economy in the world, but challenges remain in volatile global oil prices, reviving private sector investment and health of state-owned banks.

With regard to GST, he said the new indirect tax regime will ensure seamless transfer of goods and services, while stronger information technology backbone will make evasion difficult.

Despite being one political entity, India currently is not a single economic entity as there are multiple layers of taxation that make goods costlier. GST - first proposed in 2006 - will replace at last 17 state and central levies.

“The biggest taxation reform what we are trying to implement from July 1 is Goods and Services Tax ... It will increase the volume of taxation, there is no tax on tax and therefore makes goods, commodities and services little cheaper and far more convenient,” Jaitley said.

The Union Cabinet this week cleared four supplementary GST legislations which will be introduced in Parliament in the ongoing budget session.

ALSO READ | Trying to implement GST from July 1, says finance minister Jaitley

“The laws which enable this (GST) are now before Parliament which hopefully should get cleared and once they do get cleared then by the middle of this year we hope to see the implementation as far as this law is concerned,” Jaitley said.

In terms of tax compliances, he said India ranks fairly high as a non-compliant state.

“Therefore, one of the efforts of the state has been how to bring non-compliance to an end. Once the GST is introduced it will be a great check as far as evasion is concerned,” he said, adding that the government has amended direct taxation law by bringing in curbs on cash currency.

Jaitley, on Tuesday, in Parliament introduced an amendment to Finance Bill 2017 proposing to ban cash dealings above Rs 2 lakh.

“Cash component of Indian economy was exorbitantly high about 12.2 per cent of GDP and of this, 86 per cent was high denominational currency and therefore the tendency to deal excessively in cash did exist and this created its own challenges for economy,” he said.

Cash facilitated crime, corruption, incentivised tax non-compliance and was facilitator for funding terrorism and insurgency, he said, as he defended November 8 decision of the government to demonetise 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.

“(With demonetisation) Anonymity which was attached to this high level of cash operating in market that anonymity disappeared as it had to be deposited in bank.“This has also increased the trend towards digitisation of economy, (will) act as disincentive to continuing to deal in a shadow or parallel economy and lead to a further integration of informal with formal economy,” Jaitley said.

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First Published : 22 Mar 2017, 04:53:00 PM

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Arun Jaitley Lok Sabha