Watertec India’s CEO Bantwal Ramesh Baliga is of the opinion that GST implementation in itself was the biggest hit in the first year
How did GST impact the economy and the building products industry?
The impact of GST has been very positive though it has taken time for the economy and the people to understand the advantages. It has long term benefits which would be seen in the coming days. As far as the building material industry is concerned, the impact has been positive after the initial couple of months of launch. Now the logistics are better placed, product movement is faster, and ease of doing business in small towns and with small retailers is the other positive.
What more changes do you expect as GST enters the second year?
In the beginning we had a 28% tax slab which was eased out by the Council last year, and this helped our industry recover from the initial loss. Now that e-way bill has been implemented, we believe that more advantages of GST would become visible to companies that are following good practises. The e-way bill mechanism will ensure that the retailers move away from the old practice of doing business without invoicing and other malpractices.
What were the hits and misses the first year?
The implementation itself was the biggest hit of the first year, even though it started off with lots of confusion. Both the government and the end-user were not prepared. In fact the first few months were disruptive for business. However, quick corrections and counselling of businessmen, and keen listening to the industry on the part of the government, all this is to be appreciated. I believe the cooperative attitude of the government can be viewed as a hit. Today we are almost working on schedule and this is going to benefit the industry. We should get more reforms in ease of implementation, timely input credit, etc so that the industry can focus on its growth.
Do you expect real estate to be included in GST? What impact will it have on the building products industry?
Inclusion of real estate in GST will lead to transparency on the part of the developers and that will positively impact buyers’ confidence. All the existing taxes would be simplified, and with input credit the price advantage may be passed on to the buyers. Anyways, the affordable segment is not proposed to be covered under GST. But the building products industry will surely see a positive impact when that happens.