WELCOME MOVE: The busy Sakchi market on Friday in Jamshedpur where traders rued they were finding it difficult to file three GST returns a month. But Md Ahsraf (below), who runs a shop selling school uniforms in Dhanbad, welcomed the slash in GST rates, from 18 per cent to 5 per cent, on tailoring services, saying it would help people like him. (Animesh Sengupta & Gautam Dey).


Ranchi/Jamshedpur/Dhanbad: Jharkhand is set to launch e-way bills from February 1 as a part of anti-evasive measures discussed during the GST council meeting in New Delhi on Thursday in the backdrop of falling revenues, but traders across cities maintain that unless rules are simplified and payment modes streamlined compliance would not improve.


President of the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI) Ranjeet Garodia said the government's intentions did not seem to match its action on the ground.


Citing an example, he spoke of an agency in Ranchi that had registered with GSTN during its rollout. "But Akash Agency's registration number hasn't got generated. Hence, it isn't able to file GST returns. Yet, it can't shut down its business, right? What should we do?' he said, adding that he was aware of several such instances across Jharkhand.


Former president Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and state general secretary of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Suresh Sonthalia felt the government's measures would encourage evasion.


"The purpose behind GST, which we welcomed last year, was total transparency in traders' dealings. There would have been no need for evasion if the process was simple and there was no network congestion," Sonthalia said, adding that generation of e-way bill would further complicate the process.


"Traders are being harassed for the failure of the government to execute GST properly," he said.


Vice-president (trade and commerce) of Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Bharat Vasani had serious concerns about e-way bills, fearing inordinate delays while delivering goods.


"There are apprehensions of delays due to the cumbersome process of checking at interstate check-posts. The government should implement a one-point tracking system rather than multiple checks at check-posts," said the Jamshedpur trader.


President of Federation of Dhanbad Zilla Chamber of Commerce and industry Rajesh Gupta echoed similar concerns.


"The complicated rules of GST need to be simplified as traders have to file a number of returns which creates an unnecessary burden on them," said the dealer of books and stationery items.


"A majority of businesses in India are family-run and they can't afford the cost of hiring a chartered accountant to file their returns. Hence, the rules should be simplified," he said, adding that the portal seemed to be ill-equipped to handle the load of data.


In Ranchi, additional commissioner of state commercial taxes department Ajay Kumar Singh, who attended Thursday's meeting in Delhi, tried to ease traders' concerns by saying that while a host of anti-evasion measures would be announced, the government would be introducing a single returns filing policy.


"Currently, one has to file three returns in a month, which means 36 returns plus an annual return in a year, taking the total count to 37. The plan is to bring this down to a single return per month of only uploading sale and purchase invoice. Let's see what happens," he said.


The additional commissioner assured traders that he and his department were walking the extra mile to ensure proper coordination and that all glitches would be sorted out soon.


Source : Telegraph India

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