Muqbil Ahmar

Technology Evangelist, avid blogger and enthusiast, and basically a storyteller at heart. With more than 10 years of experience in journalism, I have enjoyed my stints with other media like TV, magazines, and Web. When not surrounded by startup and tech stories, I like to dig for inspirational ones. I write on Cloud, Big Data, IoT, startups, SMEs, Enterprises, Technology, ERP, CRM, and everything under the sun—viewed from the prism of new era tech.

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GST Impact on Economy: Will It Push Two Percent GDP Growth?

In Asia, countries such as Malaysia and Singapore have adopted the GST structure and were pushed by the State’s drive to replenish dried up coffers.

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A number of media reports predict that the advent of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will boost GDP growth rates by 2–2.5% in India. Touted as the most radical tax reform after Independence, what is the basis of such claims? Is it econometric analysis or just hearsay? The reports making such claims present no econometric evidence to substantiate.

Some even predict 4.5% GDP growth rates (GST to boost GDP by 4.2% or Rs 6.5 lakh crore: Fed Paper: The Economic Times). The newspaper doesn’t divulge details about the referenced research note. India’s finance Minister Arun Jaitley says the implementation of the GST will increase India's gross domestic product (GDP) by 1-2 per cent. "This (GST) has the potential to push India's GDP by one to two per cent," Jaitley recently pronounced at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington.

Veracity of GDP growth rate claims

However, others offer a contrarian view: “FOR pushing through the Goods and Services Tax (GST)… government is resorting to an enormous amount of untruth. The most blatant of these is the utterly bogus claim that the GST would increase India’s GDP growth rate by 2 percent per year. If the GST had such a miraculous effect, then the world capitalist crisis would have vanished long ago, since the US, which does not have a GST, would simply have moved to a GST regime, adding to its GDP growth rate and that of the world economy as a whole,” says renowned economist Prabhat Patnaik.

What does international implementation of GST say about GDP claims?

In countries that have adopted the GST, no such upping of the GST rates has been witnessed, although, globally, several countries have experimented with and implemented the tax regime. In fact, Canada reduced the rate of GST a couple of times after implementation. There were others that were forced to increase.

In Asia, countries such as Malaysia and Singapore have adopted the GST structure and were pushed by the State’s drive to replenish dried up coffers. Inflationary pressures too have been noticed on prices, particularly when GST rates have been higher than before. For instance, Singapore witnessed upward trend in inflation (1994) when it implemented the GST.

“GST is a radical tax reform and enterprises should be ready for it. I foresee a period of 6 months to one year, by which they should be able to implement as well as understand the new tax regime,” said Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera.

While the debate goes on, the tax reform is in for sure. Around 6 months to a year down the line, one should be able to make a better assessment of the scenario and understand whose predictions came true with the benefit of hindsight.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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