New Delhi: At a time when the Central government has formed a committee to suggest measures to augment Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue collection and administration, Union Finance Minister Sitharaman on Friday said her ministry just can’t damn the GST now though it has many flaws.

“We just can’t damn GST now. It has been passed in Parliament and in all state assemblies. It might have flaws, it might probably give you difficulties, but I’m sorry, it’s the ‘kanoon’ of the country now,” Sitharaman said while interacting with businessmen, entrepreneurs, CAs and others in Pune.

Urging the businessmen, entrepreneurs and chartered accountants to cooperate with the government despite issues being faced by them due to GST, she expressed regret that it did not meet their satisfaction.

“Suddenly we cannot say, ‘what a goddamn structure is this (Goods & Service Tax)’. I wished from day 1, that it met with your satisfaction but I am sorry that it did not meet with your satisfaction,” she added.

The Finance Minister’s statement assumes significance as the Central government on Thursday formed a high-level committee of officers to suggest measures to augment GST revenue collection and administration. The committee has been formed to look into revenue shortfall being faced by the states and suggest measures accordingly to the government.

“The committee of officers from the Centre and the states are required to suggest steps to be taken to improve revenue,” the GST Council Secretariat said in a notification.

The idea to form a committee on GST come as the GST collection in September came down to Rs 91,916 crore against Rs 98,202 crore in the last month. While looking back, the GST collection in the same month a year ago was Rs 94,442 crore.

“The total gross GST revenue collected in the month of September 2019 is Rs 91,916 crore of which CGST is Rs 16,630 crore, SGST is Rs 22,598 crore, IGST is Rs 45,069 crore (including Rs 22,097 crore collected on imports) and cess is Rs 7,620 crore (including Rs 728 crore collected on imports),” the Finance Ministry had said in a release on October 1.

The sharp decline in the GST collection is mainly because of the ongoing economic slowdown which has severely affected small and medium scale businesses.

In another development, the government data on Friday also stated that the industrial production has gone down by 1.1 per cent in August.

In August last year, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had expanded by 4.8 per cent. The manufacturing sector, which contributes over 77 per cent to the IIP, had expanded by 5.2 per cent in August last year but showed a decline of 1.2 per cent in output this year.

Likewise, the electricity generation also went down by 0.9 per cent which had an expansion of 7.6 per cent last year. The mining sector’s growth rate was flat at 0.1 per cent this year. The overall IIP growth between April and August was only 2.4 per cent. It was 5.3 per cent last year.

“The quick estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 2011-12 for August stands at 126.6, which is 1.1 per cent lower as compared to the level in August 2018,” a release from the government stated.