The GST Council, in its 48th meeting held on Saturday, agreed to an important proposal that irregularities up to a maximum of Rs 2 crore would not be prosecuted. Till now this limit was one crore rupees. The Council has also asked for the removal of charges such as obstructing a public official from duty, tampering with evidence and not providing necessary information as punishable offences. These decisions are going to give great relief to the businessmen. In fact, paying taxes is not as big a headache for businessmen as convincing the tax authorities that they have paid taxes as per rules. Often there is a difference of opinion between the two parties as to how much tax has been paid and how much is made. If these differences are not resolved among themselves, then the matter reaches the court. Often, in such a situation, the burden of litigation on the courts not only increases, but the businessmen also lose their time. Which is not good in terms of ease of doing business.
For this reason, after coming to power at the Center in 2014, the BJP government laid emphasis on Ease of Doing Business and a healthy competition has also started in the states regarding this. States are trying to attract more and more investments by creating ease of doing business. Before 2014, tax terrorism had become a big issue in the second term of the UPA government. During the then Lok Sabha elections, one of the big promises of the BJP was that it would end tax terror if it came to power. The BJP government has also made efforts in this direction in the last years. In 2014, where India used to be at 142nd position in the Ease of Doing Business Index, in 2022 it has come down to 63rd position. One of the objectives behind bringing GST was also to increase transparency in the tax system. The GST system has certainly made some things easier but in some cases it has also increased the complexity. In such a situation, the announcement of exemption from litigation in cases up to Rs 2 crore is undoubtedly a big relief. It is also a good move to make charges like obstructing government work and not providing necessary information from the purview of punishable offences. The country has seen the bad effects of Inspector Raj for a long time. At that time, businessmen had to visit government offices every now and then and had to pay bribes to get their legitimate work done. At the same time, the cases of making wrong invoices and giving fake bills have been rightly kept out of this exemption, for which complaints have been received. The recent decisions of the GST Council will increase ease of doing business, but further reforms will have to be continued in this tax system.