What are the future challenges?
The big challenge is to remove the information gap. We have told all tax officials - both central and state - to convert their departments into GST facilitation cells where assesses can walk in, ask questions and satisfy queries. Since nobody has to file returns, that is our main work for the next one month.
When will the e-way bill be ready?
It would take 3-4 months to prepare and approved by the GST Council. Meanwhile, state level stipulations would continue. So states can mandate some kind of e-way bill to be generated if they have a system in place. They can make a rule for that under GST. Earlier, it was there under the VAT law, now they will notify it under GST.
Can states fix SGST rates in future?
In the Constitution there is a provision to make small changes in SGST rates but it has to be done with the consent of the council. But, the council is very clear that provision cannot be used unless in an emergency. No state can unilaterallyincrease rates of any item.
What happens to exempt industries?
Existing taxes would continue to be levied on goods outside the purview of GST. The centre would levy excise and states VAT on such goods. Some industries want to get included, but states want to see how much the (tax) buoyancy is under GST.
Will compensation cesses go after five years?
We have surrendered the rights to put extra cess on tobacco. We have got a power under the Constitution that apart from GST we can levy additional cess on tobacco. So, that power will come back to central government.