March 30, 2022
Jawahar Sircar’s Zero Hour mention on making the GST refund system for exporters transparent
Sir, this House has congratulated exporters very recently by thumping desks and by expressing their approval, but we need to take a look at the actual reality of where these exporters are being harassed by the system. I had the opportunity to work both in Commerce and Finance, and I am aware of what is going on. Therefore, the plea that I make is like this. Computerization and faceless assessment of income-tax has served its purpose, is serving a good
purpose, and there is no doubt about it. But having said that, it has expedited disposal, cut down malpractices, but the same should be extended in letter and spirit onto GST. As we are aware, even in direct taxes, of course, there are issues of appeals, delays of hearings, but we will let that pass. Where exports are concerned, as you know, exporters are entitled to a reimbursement of the GST paid. This reimbursement of GST was small in amount and, therefore, it was continuing somewhat in a regular manner. But of late, with the increase in GST rates and increase in value,
the amount has become so big for most exporters that they are being put into unnecessarily trouble. The major problem is and I am explaining it with a particular example. A class of exporters go to claim their refund of GST
and just one word is put on their assessment saying ‘mismatch’. And once a word ‘mismatch’ goes, other bills are passed; therefore, the word goes around that you come and meet us. I am not saying that corruption is particular to any Government. It has been happening, but all we need to do is in a transparent system, make it more difficult to be one of that. I am suggesting a way out also. Everything is on computer. We know who claimed what and on what day. When a simple dangerous word like ‘mismatch’ is put, it needs to be explained in the public domain that what
the mismatch was. That is number one. Number two, if it is on the net, vigilance and other officials can see. And number three, when number is skipped and payments made, it is cause for concern. Don’t jump numbers
without a particular cause. Sir, if the Finance Ministry adopts this practice, they will be able to improve not only GST operationalisation, but also help the cause of exports at a time when we direly need foreign exchange.