" Yenna kodumai ithu Saravanan".
You may be aware of this famous punch dialogue of blockbuster Chandramukhi of yester years. When I read that a new Draft GST Law is put in circulation by the Government in the month of May 2016, i.e in the month of my retirement, the aforesaid dialogue started lingering in my ears. The reasons are not far to seek.
Ever since I joined the Central Excise Department, i.e., on 1st January 1981, my superiors and the learned pundits of Regional Training Institute ( my reverential respects to Shri W.S. Krishnan, the then Collector of Central Excise, Chennai ) who taught me the abc of Central Excise, started drilling into my head that the most important concept for the levy of Excise duty is ‘ manufacture ’. Thus started my journey in Central Excise and there was no looking back until my retirement. This concept also played an important role in later years when new (baby ) levy – Service Tax was born into the indirect tax family. During this period of nearly 36 years, I have read hundreds of hairsplitting interpretational judgments delivered by Hon’ble Tribunals, High Courts and Supreme Court from time to time dissecting the concept of ‘manufacture’ threadbare.
Now imagine my plight. I am almost touching the winning post – i.e. point of my retirement. When I was about to finish my innings in the Department successfully, all my learned gurus of the Department and the learned judges of the various Courts turned back and said in unison ‘ All your learned so far about the indirect tax levy in India is wrong; the basic concept of ‘manufacture’ is gone! ; no longer it is valid; high time you started unlearning that concept and you catch up with new concept of ‘ supply of goods and/or services ‘ for the levy of indirect Taxes. Now, whom should appeal crying ‘ this is unfair! Very unfair! You cannot do this to this child who was reared and nourished all these years with the nutritious diet of ‘manufacture concept ‘.
Nevertheless, I turn to my Lord Krishna who has never failed, nor will do in future, for an answer. He, with his enigmatic smile, tells me “Listen . There are three things unavoidable in this world. They are 1. Death; 2 Taxes and 3 changes”. Nothing is permanent in this world. I have given the wisdom to know this fundamental truth. Then why wail and cry foul. There is nothing that you cannot learn. Try the new law also.
Thus, mustering courage from gospel, I took upon myself the task of learning the new law. All these 4 months ( in Nov 2016 Revised GST was put in circulation ) I read the new law and out of whatever was gathered as knowledge, I have successfully conducted 4 seminars also in February 2017 in which more than 500 members participated shooting volley of arrows of doubts towards me showing lot of interest. That was a memorable experience. I feel it is time for me to share such knowledge in this forum also for the benefit of all.
Now, in the succeeding posts, I intend to pour my knowledge of GST in layman’s language distinguishing it with Central Excise and Service Tax. Members are welcome to participate and to chip in their doubts ( no matter who silly or small it may be ) which would open the new window of knowledge not only to you but also to others and me too!
I take leave of you for the time being…… Venkatesan