GST coverage should be expanded: Arvind Subramanian
New Delhi [India], June 20: Arvind Subramanian, who has stepped down as the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA), opined that there are many exempted sectors that should be brought under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Addressing a press conference soon after Union Minister Arun Jaitley announced his resignation; Subramanian said the decision to bring petrol and diesel under the GST is a decision to be taken by the GST Council.
“Those are the questions (petrol and diesel under GST) that the GST Council needs to take. Many of the exempted sectors should come under GST. For instance, I would like to have alcohol come under GST for cleaning up the system and transparency reasons. The point is that the broader the base of the GST, the more effective it is.”
He added: “My team and I have been working on certain things. I am incapable of putting up my feet and say that I have nothing to do. There are things being done to address the pressing challenges. We also have some ideas on fiscal federalism which we are working on.
Meanwhile, Subramanian said it was his wish to see different CEAs for different states.
“One thing which I think we could have done was that there was a lot of demand for creating something like the office of the CA in a number of states. A number of Chief Ministers were keen to have something like this. And I wish I have had more bandwidth and time and energy to do this in states. That’s something that I hope will happen going forward,” he said.
When asked if he is open to talking about demonetisation post his resignation, Subramanian said: “I have had a fair amount of freedom to speak my mind being within the government. I have not thought what next I would like to work on or what I want to write on. But, certainly reflecting upon my experience here, I have always had in my mind to write a book on the economic development around the world. All these are things that will be a part of my research in the future.”
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Jaitley wrote that Subramanian’s decision to go back to the US was due to “pressing family commitments”, adding that he had no option but to agree with the latter.
“A few days ago, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the US on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important to him. He left me with no option but to agree with him,” he said.
Subramanian, whose term was to end on October 16 last year, was given a year’s extension by the Centre.
The principal author of the annual Economic Survey, Subramanian took over as the CEA on October 16, 2014, owing to a vacancy post the appointment of Raghuram Rajan as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor in September 2013.