The Centre should abolish IGST and E-way bill to make the Goods and Services Tax more effective, deputy chief minister and finance minister of Delhi government, Mr Manish Sisodia said at an ASSOCHAM event.

“IGST is a bad idea, I have been opposing it from day one of the GST Council meeting,” said Mr Sisodia.

Citing evidence as to how implementing IGST was a bad idea, the minister said that while INR1.81 lakh crore had been collected from traders as part of IGST as an advance tax, this money has been lying idle in a sort of an escrow account and can neither be utilised by the centre nor the state governments.

“We need to look into this as it is causing loss of money and the government should conduct a study and take a decision on IGST which is not required at all,” he said.

He also said that real estate should be a part of GST, something he had suggested during the GST Council meetings but surprisingly many of the ministers did not agree to the same.

“While the GST was launched with a huge fanfare showcasing it as securing tax freedom, we did not bring real estate under its ambit whereas freedom from black money was needed the most in this sector,” added Mr Sisodia.

He also said that government should conduct data driven inspections as GST which was supposed to bring an end to the inspector raj but it did not happen.

The deputy chief minister of Delhi further said that E-way bill concept should also be abolished. “More so in case of intra-state, because when everything is online then why do you need physical presence of inspectors on every check point?”

Lamenting that GST was implemented in India in a hurried manner, without proper preparation certain, he said that the biggest mistake was terming it as 'one nation-one tax' whereas it turned out to be 'several taxes-one nation subsumed together.'

Mr Sisodia also said that he had suggested in the GST Council meetings to somehow try and come up with an out-of-the-box solution thereby implementing a single tax rate. “While it was suggested to reduce the rate in order to ensure wider tax compliance, not doing so was another big mistake.”

He recalled how in the pre-GST regime, the revenue collections of Delhi rose to INR48,000 crore in three years from INR31,000 merely by bringing down the tax rate.

The minister also informed that he has been getting lot of policy related representations on GST from different groups of traders during the morning public meeting hours, despite holding so many consultations and discussions. “This shows everything with GST is not going the way as was intended.”

He also suggested the Centre to acknowledge that mistakes have been committed during different stages of GST be it effective implementation, policy making, open approach or daring steps and the government should come up with effective solutions in this regard.

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