If demonetisation was at the front and centre of all our discussions during our State Of The Economy survey in 2017, GST rightfully took its place this year. It is only natural that the biggest tax reform the country has seen and its impact on business formed the meat of our conversations with large corporates, SMEs, small entrepreneurs and industry associations. While the transition to a unified tax regime was far smoother for larger players, smaller players struggled with the move from dealing only in cash to filing returns and paying taxes. According to the latest Economic Survey, GST implementation has increased the indirect taxpayer base by more than 50% with 3.4 million businesses coming into the tax net.
This year, as it has since 2009, the Outlook Business team visited 12 prominent industrial clusters across the country to gauge the state of the economy and file an on-the- ground report of how businesses fared and the impact GST had on their business. More importantly, we also weighed in on what their expectations were for the coming fiscal. Over the past one-and-a-half month, reporters travelled to 12 industrial clusters in east (Howrah-Salt Lake), west (Rajkot,Pimpri-Chinchwad, Morbi, Naroda, Aurangabad-Nashik), north (Noida-Ghaziabad, Pantnagar, Faridabad, Bhiwadi) and south India (Peenya). Rajkot and Peenya are two new clusters that have made their debut since the spec