India changing tax regime for greater stability: Jaitley

Singapore, Jan 21 (IANS) India is changing its taxation laws towards greater stability and predictability in the tax regime and trying to settle previously pending disputes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.

“It has been our effort in India to gradually transform and change most of our taxation laws, put to rest various disputes and issues which have been pending, and make sure that the scope of discretions is eliminated and there is a greater degree of stability and predictability as far as taxation laws are concerned,” Jaitley told an international meet here on “Doing Business Across Asia: Legal Convergence In An Asian Century”.

“One major step needed to increase the ease of doing business is to reduce inter-state variation and the barriers to inter-state trade,” he said referring to India’s states in a video message to this first such global conference on legal issues.

“The proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a major step in this direction,” the Indian finance minister said.

“There will be uniformity in taxation rates, there will be much greater compliance and obviously certainty. It’s going to help India’s GDP,” he added.

In relation to the GST Bill that is pending in the Rajya Sabha because the ruling NDA lacks the requisite majority to push it through, Jaitley extolled the virtues of Indian federalism.

“If India despite its massive population and unparalleled diversity has remained strong and united political and economic unit, it is partly because of the freedom given to states to be diverse in their laws and regulations.”

“Some degree of divergence in practice also allows for experimenting with multiple models,” Jaitley said.

“The fact is that businesses need a level of tolerance for diversity of laws if they are to exploit the opportunities that come from geographical diversification,” he added.

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