At the request of the Government, the High Commission of India organised an awareness workshop at the Taj Samudra on Colombo on Goods and Service Tax (GST) on 23 March.
A three-member delegation from Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), Government of India headed by Commissioner Upendra Gupta conducted the workshop. Sonali Wijeratne, Director General, Department of Commerce, Government of Sri Lanka and Arindam Bagchi, Deputy High Commissioner of India were also present. Several officials from various Ministries/Departments of Sri Lanka, representatives of the trade chambers, members from the industry, etc. were also present.
The discussions highlighted the fact that Sri Lankan exporters will now have access to hitherto unexplored markets of various states (provinces) in India, thanks to uniform rates of taxation all over India under the new GST Act.
Launched in July 2017, GST is hailed as India’s biggest tax reform since independence. GST has resulted in economic integration of India, by subsuming more than a dozen State and Central levies into one tax. GST has unified 29 states of India into a common national market for the first time (One nation, One tax). GST has also substantially increased ease of doing business in India. GST has mitigated cascading effects in taxation as well as ensured transparency, certainty and simplicity.
The new GST system will bring down the cost of imports and exports for Sri Lanka from/to India. The traders based in Sri Lanka will not have to bear the cost of any indirect tax except the basic customs duty and Social Welfare Surcharge, as applicable. Traders in India can now claim GST paid on imported goods as tax credit from Government of India. For details on GST, pls. visit: http://www.cbec.gov.in/htdocs-cbec/gst/index.