Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he would leave no stone unturned to make India a "best investment destination". He assured that the Centre would continue to "aggressively push public sector investment" and said the government would extend all possible help to support "honest and law-abiding businesses". During an interview with the Economic Times, PM Modi said the government was "committed to fulfilling the five-year vision of investment-led growth, with a target of Rs 100-lakh crore". He added the recent slowdown in the automobile sector was "temporary" and the government's target to make transition to electric vehicles was not a "cause of worry".
He added India's tryst with Goods and Services Tax (GST) was outstanding as compared to other countries. He added that while some transitional challenges in the GST remained, procedures to streamline the process were in order. PM Modi said he had also asked pending transitional issues of genuine taxpayers and remaining MSME issues to be addressed on priority. In the interview, the Prime Minister said that due to rate reductions, an average middle class family saves Rs 1,500 per year in the form of lower tax.
Replying to a question by the daily on whether the PM is satisfied with the evolution of the GST system considering the constant changes and tinkering, PM Modi said, "GST was a massive reform of a scope and size not seen anywhere in the world. When such huge reforms involving all states and Centre happen, transitional and teething troubles are inevitable. Compared to the experience of other countries with even smaller reforms, out record is outstanding."
He added that the GST system must be improved and the cost of compliance must be reduced. The Prime Minister also said that once streamlined procedures for return filings were fully rolled out, there would be substantial ease of compliance. "Many have been sorted out. I know that some remain. I have asked officials to work through the GST Council to sort out the remaining pending transitional issues of genuine taxpayers and also remaining MSME issues on a priority basis, taking a sympathetic approach," he added.
The Prime Minister also said that consumers' benefit in GST was one aspect that had always been ignored while analysing the performance the tax in India. He added that the average middle-class family saved Rs 1,500 per year in the form of lower tax on household expenditure.
He also said, "We need to encourage digital transactions, which would bring further benefits to consumers and sellers. We need to inculcate the habit of asking for bills while doing any purchase."
"You may not be aware, if a business does his transactions through digital means, even with a turnover of about Rs 1 crore, he will pay zero income tax. With availing some of the deductions in the form of savings and housing loan incentives, even one with a turnover of about Rs 1.5 crore would end up paying zero income tax," he added.