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Convergence of indirect tax laws into GST important for Make in India success
February, 17th 2015

Make in India' a national programe announced by the government last year is intended to be a game changer for the Indian economy. To make it a success, the government needs to undertake extensive reforms that facilitate the ease of setting-up of a manufacturing facilities in India. Steps, such as single window approvals for registrations and licences, incentives for promoting innovation, protection of intellectual properties, and availability of skilled resources are steps that should be considered. The government is expected to introduce certain policies and incentives to promote the Make in India campaign in the upcoming Budget.

At present, there is a need to create specific business zones by setting-up of manufacturing hubs, industrial parks, more special economic zones, freight corridors, etc. to give a boost to the manufacturing sector. Further to better the transportation cost, there is a need for the development of highways, ports, and railways. The government should provide for updating the key policies for setting-up such parks and attracting investment into the infrastructure sector by making liberal laws, giving tax and non-tax incentives. Measures to make available cheaper and efficient funding for the small and medium sector could also facilitate growth. Policy reforms on the FDI front would encourage the much needed foreign investments into the country. Steps need to be undertaken to improve India's ranking in term of ease of doing business for e.g., single window clearance mechanism should be implemented so as to reduce the process of multiple approvals which are generally sought at national and state levels. Further, there is a need to eliminate or revisit the archaic laws that slow down the process for of setting-up manufacturing units in India.

The Government should consider incentivising Innovation and R&D in Manufacturing considering its immense potential to increase competitiveness. Policy makers must focus on providing a regulatory and business environment that encourages companies and consumers to use these innovations. Further, there should be a clear focus on protection of intellectual properties as that is a prime concern of almost all the investors. The Finance Minister during the last budget emphasised on vocational training and skill development setting aside a few crores of rupees for the 'Skill India' program. Youth training needs a push, jobs have to be created to support growth of industries and to ultimately drive the economic growth of India. 'Digital India', another initiative of the government which is aimed to connect various government departments with the people of India would also play an important role in the Make in India program by way of its legal framework, privacy and the data protection laws.

Convergence of the various indirect tax laws into GST would play an important role for the success of the Make in India plan. A clear roadmap for its successful implementation should be laid out in this budget. The General Anti Avoidance Rules expected to be in force from April 2015 should be deferred to improve investor sentiment. The retrospective amendments introduced have dampened investment sentiments of many international investors. The Finance Minister last year mentioned that there would be no more retrospective amendments, however supplementing that statement with the removal of the erstwhile amendments would help in restoring the foreign investor confidence. The government needs to set-up a

panel which would address specific industry issues and the same should be made enforceable through the country. Further, increasing the scope and powers of the Dispute Resolution Panel may be resorted to along with capacity building of tax tribunals to expedite the long litigated matters and close them in a timely manner. Additional benches of the AAR can strengthen the infrastructure of the AAR and could result in speedy disposal of applications for advance rulings.

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