New Delhi: Seeking to allay concerns of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) officials threatened with redundancy under the goods and services tax (GST) regime, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the new tax regime, expected to come into force on 1 July, will generate adequate work opportunities for the taxmen.
“I see no reason for disquiet in the service. Opportunities available in the service are protected, except that the nature of activities will change. Extent of revenue to be collected will expand (under GST). Economic activity will expand,” he told CBEC officials at an event.
“Important evolutions that take place are never put on the back-burner just because the nature of the activities will change,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley’s comments come at a time when officials of the CBEC are protesting a recent decision of the GST Council on sharing of administrative powers between the centre and the states, which they contend will leave a substantial portion of the central indirect tax workforce without much work, Mint had reported on 25 January.
According to an agreement reached between the centre and the states in the GST council meeting on 16 January, states will administer control over 90% of the taxpayer base whose revenue is less than Rs1.5 crore and the remaining 10% will be with the centre.
CBEC staff unions contend that this will mean that a substantial service taxpayer base will go to the states.
They are also opposing a decision to give powers to states to part-administer taxpayers when it comes to inter-state movement of goods.
CBEC chairman Najib Shah, in his address, also flagged the disquiet in the service related to human resource issues.
Jaitley said there will be an adequate number of work opportunities for officials under GST.
“Change and evolution are an integral part of any economic order. We all have to adjust to this new order,” he said, adding that GST will open new avenues for the taxmen.
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia also sought to allay CBEC’s concerns and said, “Nobody will be a loser in the GST regime. CBEC officials will have adequate work.”
The finance minister said the advent of technology will minimize the interaction between assessee and assessor and the level of discretion given to taxmen.