GUWAHATI, July 2 - Insisting that the consumer states in the country would benefit at the cost of the manufacturing states following implementation of the GST, State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that under the new tax regime, the tax collection in Assam would double in five years time.
�People will not have to pay more. Leakages will be stopped. Industrialization will get a push as manufacturers will not confine themselves to particular states due to the uniformity in tax and will try to set up units across the country to cut down transportation costs. I feel the tax collection in Assam, which is around Rs 6,000 crore will double and go up to Rs 12,000 crore in five years,� Sarma said, speaking at an interactive session with youth and traders on the new taxation system.
However, in the initial couple of years, the collection might drop, but the loss incurred up to five years would be reimbursed by the Centre, the minister said.
He also said that the sales tax gates would be abolished in about two months time once the e-way billing system is in place for ensuring seamless movement of goods. Later, flying squads will be deployed to conduct mobile checking.
Seeking to allay concerns over possible �inspector raaj� under the new tax regime, Sarma said the system is IT-based and there is no scope for human interface.
�Only about 5 per cent of the traders would be checked and that too will be picked by the computer based on the past transactions. Also if there is any specific input of any irregularity, inquiries would be done,� he said.
While the present number of assessees is around 1.2 lakh, the minister said the number of tax payers in Assam is unlikely to cross 1.5 lakh in the next five years.
Stating that rumours were being spread in social media and through other means on the GST, Sarma assured people that consumers will benefit under the new tax regime. �Earlier, traders used to take benefit of the variable tax systems in the country. This will stop now,� he said.
On fixing of the exemption threshold at Rs 10 lakh in the Northeast against Rs 20 lakh in other states, the minister said, �When the traders are collecting the tax from the people, why will the government not tax them? In any case, we have raised the limit from Rs 6 lakh under VAT to Rs 10 lakh under GST. Rs 20 lakh threshold would be a luxury for a state like Assam.�
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a historic tax reform which will lead to inclusive growth in the country. He also informed that nodal officers will be engaged at the circle level for GST registration and awareness generation activities in the State.
State Tax Commissioner Anurag Goel told The Assam Tribune on the sidelines that the government is considering exemption in the form of reimbursement for traditional handicraft items like gamosa in the State.