The Kerala government today said stern action will be taken against those hiking prices of commodities following the launch of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government viewed the present increase in prices of commodities very seriously. The government has already established a mechanism to file complaints on increase of prices of commodities, he said in a press release. He added that Kerala has already raised the issue before the Centre. Earlier, state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac urged the central government to take steps to check tendency in trade and business to make undue profits following the launch of the GST.
Kerala wants the Centre to set up an anti-profiteering authority at the national-level, he said. In a letter to his counterpart at the Cenre, Arun Jaitley, Isaac claimed that though prices of many commodities had come down due to GST, the consumer was not getting its benefit. Many traders were making profits by imposing the GST on the pre-GST price, he said, adding hotels and restaurants were doing this the most.
“It has been noticed hotels and restaurants and outlets selling daily consumables instead of giving discounts because of reduction of tax or at least keeping price at the same level had increased the prices,” he alleged. “The hotel and restaurant industry has added 12-18 per cent GST tax on the price of food fixed in the pre-GST scenario,” Isaac said.
“This has resulted in drastic increase in the cost of food items creating a negative impression on GST among people,” the minister said. Isaac felt that detailed matrix on commodity-wise tax incidence would enable the state to take up an awareness campaign, which would go a long way in controlling unreasonable pricing and avoiding resentment among people.