When Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in March introduced legistlation to pave the path for the Goods and Services Tax, he described this as a “revolutionary” reform that “will benefit all”. The GST subsumes all indirect taxes, from service tax to octroi, aiming to to levy a common tax on goods and services across the country. But with less than two weeks left for the reform to be implemented on July 1, many Indians claim that they have been left confused.
With 1,211 items categorised under tax slabs ranging from 0% to 28%, the bafflement is forgivable. Traders groups are uncertain about how the new regime will affect prices. The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India has even asked the Centre to delay implementing the new rules. Many fear that the rollout will be chaotic. And despite the media being filled with debates about the new system that will create “one nation, one rate”, some people are still uncertain what GST involves.
Not surprisingly, they have taken to social media to ask questions and make comments.
The more uncharitable believe that even government officials aren’t quite sure what GST involves.
But even if they are confused, some Twitter users believe that understanding GST is a good idea.
The fact that value added tax or VAT will be folded into GST inspired this joke, about the famous VAT 69 brand of whisky.
Many predict that July 1 won’t exactly be smooth.
And some insist that the problems will continue for a little while.