Administrative and Structural Challenges with the Prospective Indian GST Regime

This article canvasses the background to the introduction of the new comprehensive GST regime in India. The author then addresses some key reasons for introducing GST – expansion of the tax base, harmonization of India’s various indirect taxes and enhanced tax compliance – and shortcomings with the proposed regime; in particular, the multiplicity of rates, state- and federal-level duality of indirect taxes, involving multiple statutes, the treatment of petroleum products and the resultant failure of the new tax to eliminate the cascading effects of extant taxes, which was originally a key policy objective.