Lucknow: “The full form of GST is…,” fumbled an Uttar Pradesh minister as he struggled to get the correct answer just less than 48 hours before the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Social Welfare, Scheduled Castes and Tribal Affairs minister Ramapati Shastri was caught on the wrong foot today when mediapersons asked him to expand the abbreviation while he was interacting with local businessmen in Maharajganj to apprise them of the benefits of the much-touted new tax regime.
Though someone from the background tried to prompt the minister, he failed to make use of the clue. However, realising that he had committed a goof-up, he hastened to added that he knew the full form but was not able to recollect it instantly. “I know the full form. I am going through all the relevant documents to gather more knowledge about the GST,” Shastri said.
He is the minister in-charge of Maharajganj district. This happened barely two days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a workshop with his cabinet colleagues to explain the nitty-gritty of the GST, which is all set to be rolled out on July 1.
Adityanath had asked his ministers on June 14 to explain the benefits of the GST to people who were feeling confused ahead of the new tax regime. He had also asked his ministers and senior officials to conduct symposia to make people aware of the GST. The state information department has been asked to spread more awareness about the new tax regime.
The State GST Bill was tabled in a specially convened session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on May 15 and after its passage, a workshop was held to apprise all legislators of the salient features of the proposed legislation on GST. State minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said, “After the new tax regime is implemented, revenue of the state is likely to increase.” Uttar Pradesh, as a ‘consumer state’, is projected to be a net tax gainer under the new tax regime as the GST is a destination-based taxation system as against manufacturing source based. The state has also witnessed its tax kitty burgeon under the Value Added Tax (VAT) regime. VAT was implemented in the state on January 1, 2008, during the Mayawati government. Seen as a path-breaking step in the taxation regime, GST is expected to create a congenial and cohesive atmosphere for business in the country.