What Is Ambivalence Under GST?

Home » Blogs » What Is Ambivalence Under GST?

Table of Contents

Introduction To Goods and Services Tax (GST):

The Goods and Services Tax regime employed in India on July 1, 2017, is one of the most ambitious and complex indirect tax reforms undertaken. It aimed to replace the pre-GST structure of excise duties, value-added taxes, service tax, and distinct other levies both at the central and state levels. GST seeks to establish a common national market by subsuming this maze of indirect taxes under a single tax framework.

Some of the pivotal objectives of GST include:

  • Simplifying the indirect tax structure by limiting multiple taxes and exemptions
  • Enabling a seamless flow of input tax credits across the supply chain
  • Avoiding cascading effects of taxes on taxes
  • Developing a pan-India taxation system with harmonized rates
  • Boosting interstate trade and commerce
  • Boosting compliance and tax revenues through technology-driven administration
  • Enhancing India’s global competitiveness and spurring economic growth

GST implementation represents a tectonic policy shift towards a modern consumption-based tax regime. It touches every business and consumer across the nation.

Understanding Ambivalence In GST:

The rollout of GST has resulted in mixed reactions and simultaneous optimism as well as anxiety about the impact of the transition. This ambivalence stems from:

  • Excitement about the modernization of indirect taxes while being apprehensive about disruption.
  • Appreciating the long-term gains but concerned about short-term adjustment costs.
  • Positive political consensus but varying state-centered perspectives on rates and revenue sharing.
  • Clarity on future direction but ambiguity in certain aspects of present execution.
  • Tax authorities are welcoming enhanced revenues but struggling with teething challenges in the rollout.
  • Businesses recognize benefits but face working capital and compliance burdens.
  • Consumers support simpler taxes but are dissatisfied with rising inflationary costs.

In essence, the promise and potential of GST are acknowledged, but equal focus is needed on steadfastly overcoming the rollout difficulties. The ambivalence reflects the intricate change management process that accompanies a reform of this scale.

What Are A Few Pros And Cons Of GST Implementation?

Advantages Of GST Implementation:

  • Simplification of the earlier complex indirect tax structure into a single, unified regime. Multiple central and state taxes have been merged into one tax with reduced exemptions.
  • Seamless flow of input tax credits across the supply chain, sectors, and states. This has reduced cascading effects and lowered manufacturing costs.
  • Uniform tax rates across states have created a common national market and reduced economic distortions.
  • Boost interstate trade since state border tax checkpoints have been dismantled.
  • Boosted tax compliance and revenues for the government due to increased documentation requirements and systems.
  • Enhanced economic growth and global competitiveness of Indian businesses, according to experts.

Disadvantages Of GST Implementation:

  • Firms have faced a sudden increase in compliance requirements in the form of extensive monthly and annual filings.
  • Numerous tax transitions, adjustments in accounting systems, and inventory valuations have led to temporary disruptions.
  • Working capital requirements have increased significantly due to input tax credits being delayed.
  • Ambiguity in tax rates and product classification has led to disputes.
  • Multiple tax slabs instead of one or two slabs have increased complexity for businesses.
  • Technical and implementation glitches on the GSTN portal have hampered smooth rollouts.
  • Change management needs across all departments—Finance, IT, Legal, and Supply Chain—have been high.

What Will Be The Impact Of GST On Various Sectors?

The rollout of GST has had varying impacts across distinct industry sectors.

Manufacturing Sector:

  • Initial disruption as supply chains and inventory valuations had to be remodeled for tax efficiencies.
  • Over time, advantages protected a continuing drift of enter tax credit, lower cascading of taxes, and simplified logistics, leading to decreased production expenses.
  • Compliance requirements are elevated extensively with month-to-month filings and product class challenges.
  • Additional sources have been deployed by organizations to fulfill the heightened compliance needs.

Healthcare Sector:

  • Hospital treatments have become more luxurious to start with due to higher tax prices below GST.
  • Relief was supplied through reduced taxes on drugs and a pass toward a uniform tax structure.
  • Healthcare vendors faced improved compliance burdens, which included better registrations, complicated billing processes, and month-to-month filings.

Also Read: GST and the Healthcare Sector

E-Commerce Sector:

  • GST enabled a unified marketplace throughout India, simplifying inter-kingdom movement for e-commerce groups.
  • State-degree tax variations had been eliminated, streamlining operations.
  • However, e-trade gamers had to adapt technology, fulfillment approaches, and vendor onboarding to align with GST methods.
  • Additional compliance workloads resulted in extended costs for the sector.

FMCG Sector:

  • Scaling up operations for FMCG corporations is facilitated by GST, making inventory transfers, nearby production, and interstate exchange easier.
  • Challenges arose from classification disputes and ambiguity regarding applicable tax prices on diverse gadgets.

MSME Sector:

  • Small organizations benefited from simplified approaches and uniform registration under GST.
  • Interstate sales became more reachable, fostering growth possibilities.
  • Significant operating capital blockages for MSMEs because of delayed tax refunds.
  • Compliance costs for MSMEs increased significantly, including the complexity of operations.

Overall Impacts:

  • While GST modernized indirect taxes, the transition proved intricate for organizations across sectors.
  • Managing reform ambivalence requires tailored, industry-wise strategies to balance benefits and challenges.

GST And International Trade:

The GST rollout has influenced cross-border trade in several ways:

Positive Impact:

  • Integration of all customs border levies like basic customs duty, CVD, and SAD into one IGST levy has led to reduced import documentation. Just one tax is now payable instead of multiple charges earlier.
  • The dismantling of state tax checkpoints post-GST has eliminated re-assessment delays for imports and exports in transit between different states. Customs clearance times have reduced significantly.
  • Overall import costs have declined as IGST paid on imports is available as an input tax credit. Unlike CVD, which was a cost, IGST paid on imports can be claimed back by businesses.
  • For exporters, GST has brought significant simplification. Refunds of taxes paid on inputs and capital goods are now faster due to automation under GST.
  • Procedures for cross-border e-commerce exports and imports have been streamlined under GST regulations.

Negative Issues:

  • Complex new rules have been introduced for the customs valuation of imports under GST, which has increased litigation. Aspects like loading and unloading charges, exchange rate rules, etc. require further clarification.
  • Ongoing adjustments are needed in foreign trade policy, which earlier provided various export incentives and duty exemption schemes. Aligning these with GST needs coordinated efforts between policymakers.
  • Refunds of IGST paid at ports continue to face administrative delays, hampering exporter cash flows. The process needs to be expedited.
  • Ambiguity in certain areas, like high sea sales, warehousing provisions, etc., persists, which poses hurdles for importers and exporters.

Thus, while GST has largely facilitated trade, synchronized efforts between Customs, the GST Council, and DGFT can help realize the full potential of GST for international commerce. The initial hiccups require collaborative action.

Also Read: GST And The Global Economy

Navigating Ambivalence: Strategies And Solutions

The ambivalence surrounding GST implementation requires focused efforts to maximize the benefits and minimize the disruptions of this tax reform. Some key strategies and solutions include the following:

  • The GSTN and GST Council need to proactively resolve the technology glitches and system vulnerabilities that continue to disrupt return filings. Robust security enhancements, load testing, and disaster recovery mechanisms must be incorporated.
  • Extensive taxpayer outreach and training programs should be conducted by the government across cities to educate businesses on GST provisions and procedures. Awareness at the small business level remains low.
  • Rules and procedures under GST for areas like anti-profiteering, refunds, registrations, etc. require further streamlining and clarifications to reduce ambiguity for taxpayers. Conflicting interpretations only add to compliance burdens.
  • Return filing processes and procedures need to be further simplified to reduce the frequent disruptions to credit flow. Invoice-matching mechanisms must also be strengthened.
  • There is a need for gradual rate rationalization under GST to prune the multiple rate slabs and converge to 1-2 rates. It will limit and reduce classification disputes. The Council must find consensus on priorities here.
  • The government should set up dedicated help desks and advisory services on GST to hand-hold taxpayers during the transition. Dedicated officers can assist with issue resolution.
  • With collaborative steering between the center and states on such measures, the excitement for GST’s growth impact can be realized while smoothing the transition pains through structured solutions.

The Future Of GST And Potential Improvements:

While GST implementation has crossed an important milestone, the journey has just begun. Some pivotal areas for further evolution include:

Broadening The Tax Base:

  • The government must focus on expanding the tax base by bringing more taxpayers into the GST net through measures like mandatory registration beyond turnover thresholds.
  • Increased use of data analytics to identify tax evaders and drive better compliance, especially in Tier 2/3 cities where awareness is lower.
  • Studying best practices from other countries to reduce cash transactions and drive financial inclusion.

Anti-Evasion Measures:

  • The introduction of e-way bills has helped track goods movement, but more measures like RFID tagging of goods can be explored.
  • Improving coordination between GST, Income Tax, and other agencies to identify tax evaders through common reporting.
  • Leveraging machine learning and AI to analyze GSTN invoice data to catch fake bills, circular trading, etc. Newer fraud patterns need surveillance.

Global Practices:

  • As GST matures, global best practices around procedures, timelines, and audits can be incorporated in India after customization for local needs.
  • The unified invoice format needs further work to capture HSN codes, supply types, etc. in line with global standards.

Rate Convergence:

  • Multiple slabs have increased complexity. As revenues stabilize, a consolidated GST rate of 12%–15% can be targeted to simplify compliance.
  • Essential goods that remain exempt or at 0% will need to be monitored to ensure benefits reach consumers.

The transition to advanced GST systems continues to require intensive collaboration between policymakers, industry, and administrators. Ambivalence will give way to clarity.

Also Read: The Future of GST in the Era of Web3

Listen Why GST Billing is so important for MSME’s ?


GST implementation has resulted in the simultaneous excitement and apprehension characteristic of ambivalence. The unification of India into one market comes with short-term adjustment challenges. However, the long-term efficiencies and productivity gains outweigh the transient hurdles. Over time, the ambivalence will pave the way for greater assimilation of GST into business processes and maximum economic benefits. With collaborative stewardship between government and industry, this giant tax reform can be transformed into a true win-win.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. What is the motive behind the advent of GST?

Answer: The notion of a national GST in India was first positioned via the Kelkar Task Force on Indirect Taxes in 2000. The key objective changed to replace the present complicated and fragmented tax structure in general at the time. This shift aimed to set up a unified tax system with the primary goals of simplifying compliance, decreasing tax cascading (tax on tax), and fostering economic integration throughout the United States.

Q2. Who is recognized as the father of GST in India?

Answer: Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a distinguished chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a former Prime Minister of India, is recognized as the driving force behind the implementation of GST. His management played an important role in navigating the complexities related to introducing a comprehensive tax reform like GST in the Indian context.

Q3. Which nation was the first to introduce GST?

Answer: France holds the distinction of being the trailblazer in imposing the Goods and Services Tax internationally. As of now, over 140 nations globally have embraced the GST framework, remodeling the tax panorama on a global scale.

Q4. Are there international locations that don’t have GST?

Answer: Some jurisdictions, such as Malaysia, America, and Puerto Rico, choose an income tax gadget rather than a VAT/GST shape. In Malaysia, it’s called sales tax and service tax. Puerto Rico operates under the Sales and Use Tax (SUT), and the US makes use of an honest sales tax model.

Q5. Who is responsible for accumulating GST in India?

Answer: The series of GSTs in India entails each of the central and state governments operating in tandem. Across the entire fee chain, items and services transactions are concerned with taxation, with the central government levying and accumulating the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and individual states handling the collection of the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) for transactions going on within their respective territories. This collaborative technique guarantees a seamless implementation of the GST gadget inside the United States of America.

author avatar
Sriyalini Mathivanan Writer
Sri Yalini YM is a qualified finance professional with expertise in GST compliance and financial matters, she brings comprehensive knowledge to provide expert insights.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has One Comment

  1. AIDC Technologies India

    In a complex tax landscape, understanding ambivalence is crucial. Thanks for shedding light on this nuanced topic, providing clarity for businesses navigating the intricacies of GST. A valuable resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding.