Shri Krishna Byre Gowda is the current Minister of Agriculture for State, Govt. of Karnataka. He represents the Byatarayanapura Constituency, Bengaluru in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
As Minister for Agriculture, his focus areas include greater adoption of technology in agriculture and push for mechanization to overcome high labour costs and labour shortage, to name a few. Another important activity he has undertaken is to represent Karnataka’s interests in the GST Council.
He was handpicked for this position by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. In a recent article posted on the Economic Times, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia have both praised his work on the GST Council.
Shri Krishna Byre Gowda has a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the American University in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Business Management from Christ College, Bangalore University, Bangalore.
See full biography – http://krishnabyregowda.in/biography/
Your GST questions on rates, rollout, government support and helpdesks answered by GST Council Member Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture for State, Government of Karnataka.
Question1: Apart from registration for GST and adopting the reporting requirements, what next steps need to be initiated by SMEs and businesses for compliance? And along with that, there’s one more question I want to ask – Do you plan a support cell to handle queries in initial days?
KBG: There are lot of consultants and CAs who have become knowledgeable about GST. So businesses should take their services. I cannot advise businesses on their preparedness. But from the government side, we have held ‘n’ number of workshops around Karnataka to sensitise and bring awareness about GST to business community. In addition, to help the transition, we have also set up 133 helpdesks across the state.
In addition, even trade bodies have their own helpdesks set up to help the transition process. All trade bodies have some sort of assistance on their websites. So there’s enough support system available to guide through the hiccups during the transition. And government will also work for this. Our staff are also well trained on GST matters. So whatever preparation that we can do, we have done, and during the transition also we will work extensively to help through the difficulties that may arise.
Question2: So GST, we have seen the rates increase, for housing, for hotels, a plethora of different rates are coming. What can you tell us about the overall impact of these rates, and GST on the business environment? Do you see any impetus for invigorating the business community?
KBG: As per the assessment of many economists, GST should lead to an increased volume of business by creating a business friendly, more transparent with respect to ease of doing business and ease of movement of goods and services. So by all these measures, 1 to 1.5% increase in GDP is expected by the rolling out of GST.
Of course, the way in which GST has taken shape may not be in line with the original vision of a more rationalised version, because when multiple stakeholders sit around a table, some compromises have to be struck. So there may be a dilution of the original intent to have a very rational GST. But in a polity like ours, those compromises are necessary to make progress. So though some of us are disappointed that it has not been liberalised and made easy as much as we would have liked, but we understand the compulsions of working in a federal polity with multiple democratic stakeholders to come up with a more viable method.
Having said that, it will bring more transparency, more ease of business, and we expect the business environment will improve. That should make it easier for more businesses to come up and thrive as well.
Question3: Coming to rates again, more rates have been announced since June 11. Do we expect further announcements in rates, and when these rates and changes come, in your opinion, how ready are we to roll it out starting July 1?
KBG: Most of the rates have been deliberated as of June 17th meeting and most of the rates are finalised. From June 17th to July 1st, I don’t foresee many changes in the rates because they were deliberated till June 17th. But there were appeals and grievances over rates. But they may be taken up in due course of time, perhaps after the roll out on July 1st. So I don’t see any changes in the last minute. But even if there are to be any changes, since there are multiple stakeholders and multiple pressure points, those will be limited to one or two commodities which will not affect the overall thing. So for now, possible rates are finalised.
Question4: Any specifics related to Karnataka? For the businesses based out of Karnataka?
KBG: The GST structure is applicable across the country. So whatever gets decided for the rest of the country gets decided for Karnataka as well. We have certain industries in which we concentrate like IT and service sector – we are strong in that. But the same rules apply. That’s the unique thing – the uniformity about GST. How it will affect our state, we will have to wait and see.
Question5: Do you see a smooth roll out of GST? What’s your message for businesses?
KBG: During the transition, there will be hiccups, there will be challenges, there will be difficulties. We also have concerns about GST and the network, how it is going to process all these transactions, how the refunds are going to take place, etc. But the Council has deliberated on each and every of these concerns, and Council has been assured that there’s adequate preparedness. But still when such a transition is going to take place, there could be some difficulties and challenges. I don’t rule them out. But enough deliberations are being put into this to ensure that we are well prepared.
So my only appeal to the business community is to go through the transition process with little bit of composure. Even if there are problems, we can work with the industry to sort out those problems. Let’s work together in that direction.
Question6: When do you think this will be stabilized?
KBG: The first two months will be challenging. Especially the second month, when the returns get filed. That’s where we anticipate lot of issues to arise, which might take another two months to sort out. I look at a four-month horizon where I see the system stabilizing. There still may be some issues left after four months. But most of the issues may be settled in about four months time.
That was an exclusive interview given to Yomillio by GST Council Member Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture for State, Government of Karnataka.
If you have your own questions about GST, post in the comments below and we will try to provide you with the required answers.
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