Speaking at a FICCI seminar to commemorate one year of GST implementation in the country Finance Secretary Dr Hasmukh Adhia was candid to point out the obstacles the industry and common people faced, primarily because of inadequate technology platform viz GSTN. “Since we had to meet a certain deadline, we needed to hurry up the process. Somewhere, I made a reference about the technology failing us but that does not mean that the people in the GSTN failed us. Marvelous people work in the GSTN and despite their efforts, the GSTN still fails us,” Dr. Adhia, admitted. He also shared that in the next GST Council meeting all these aspects would be discussed in addition to the possibility of further rationalization of GST slabs and rates for the benefit of common people and industry as well. “Continuous efforts are being made to simplify the GST System. We have gained in the process of simplification by introducing GST, but that does not mean there is no scope for betterment of the existing system,” he maintained.
At this event FICCI released a Survey Report on GST experience after one year. The Report says that implementation of GST has been successful on overall basis with 76% respondents stating that GST had a positive impact on their business. Also, 96% respondents believe that introduction of e-way bill mechanism in lieu of check posts will facilitate ease of doing business. About two-third of the respondents have reported either no change or decrease in their supply chain costs post the implementation of the survey. Furthermore, 64% respondents to the survey have cited a reduction of transportation time under the GST regime. Of these, 56% respondents cited reduction in transportation time by up to 10%, 25% respondents stated reduction by 10-20% and 19% stated a reduction in transportation time by 20-40%.
However, 59% of the respondents mentioned that they were not satisfied with the capability of the GSTN portal. Respondents suggested that a major revamp of the portal was necessary to make it more efficient. Specific suggestion for improving operation of GSTN portal include improving server capacity as well as making it more user friendly, with an interactive interface.
In addition, 71% respondents mentioned that they faced issues in claiming refund of GST. They cited reasons such as significant efforts in follow up for processing of claims, technical issues in the GSTN portal, mismatch between relevant GSTR and shipping bill leading to the inconvenience in claiming of refunds.