The nation expressed mixed responses on the first anniversary of demonetization – November 8, 2017 while in the state of Meghalaya it was just another regular day, as the masses continues to remain immune to the national movement. Even a year back, Meghalaya was perhaps the one state which hardly had long queue outside the ATM for long. It was stabilized just after a month, while other states had suffered. Meghalaya is not at all a poor state, the standard of living is quite high, yet the exchange of demonetized notes was smooth in the state.
As the general studies conducted, it is stated that the rich and the super-rich in the nation were hardly affected in the exercise, but the ones who are living from hand to mouth were the worst affected, some have even lost their lives, which the Central Government termed sacrifices for the nation!
The state of Meghalaya, where paying of tax is a totally a new exercises, as the state have been exempted from paying revenue tax, is now finding it difficult in filing the return in Goods and Services Tax (GST), where there are some who still continue to abstains from filing the same, not because they do not want to pay taxes, but simply because they have no idea how to pay tax.
The Central Government has claimed that in the last 365 days, about 4.7 lakhs illegal transactions in the banks amounting to about Rs 3.68 lakhs crore have been detected and are under the scanner, where the Income Tax department is dealing each case individually.
Another success is the increase of digital payments which has grown by over 80% in the past one year. This is a substantial growth for a country as big as India, where billions worth of transactions happen every day. This has fuelled the growth of digital wallets and payment banks. From the Government’s own digital payment platform, BHIM to Google’s mobile payment app Tez, this sector seems to have been the biggest beneficiary.
The banking penetration among the poor and people in rural India was dismally low. Almost 42% of the Indian households belonged to the unbanked category when Modi took over as Prime Minister. One of his first major schemes Jan Dhan reduced unbanked population in India from 557 million in 2011 to 233 million in 2015. Demonetization added another 23 million customers to the banking system in a span of just two months.
On the other hand, it is noted that the spending has decreased, worst so, the phobia of demonetization 2 is now hanging over every individual, as is the fear that the new Rs 2000 note might be recalled, as it is found that the money laundering now has become much easier, because the middle class sector of the population till date still finds it more comfortable to handle cash.
As the cash flow has slowed down, the flow of liquid money is lesser in circulation, hence most feel that that the Modi government has turned them into poor people. Like the disaster in executing the exercises of note ban, the government made yet other unplanned exercise in GST, where most of the essential commodities are more expensive post demonetization.
The situation is such that even after three months of the GST roll out, the Finance Ministry is still deciding tax rates on various items. The next meeting where the issue of tax rates will be discussed is coming on November 10 at Guwahati.
Now the point to ponder is how will the consumers get the refund for the excess payment in the name of GST. Above that there are many stalls charging the consumer the GST without even registering for the same. On being demanded to show the registration number, they failed to produce the same and seek time from the consumer. Who is to check on such malpractices?
As of now, even the life saving drugs, oxygen and other health care apparatus are costing more because of GST. One cannot understand how some hospital even charges GST for the hospital room from General Ward to the Luxury one according to the percentages laid out. This have made the medical health care much more expensive from the already unaffordable health care services.
Through a fall of price for all essential commodities was assured, there is no sign of it till now, whereas GST is being added to all essential commodities above the printed MRP rates. Even the services provided by specialized or resources person are being charged the GST!
As of now the council needs to speed up the process of calculating the GST as demanded, because till then all consumers are paying extra. Yet the citizens from Meghalaya are immune to all such national exercises.