After smooth rollout of the one- tax regime GST, the government has formed crack teams of 175 senior bureaucrats to monitor on a daily basis price and supply situation and ensure there are no disruptions. A crisis management cell has been set up for coordinating between the Centre and states as well as ironing out any issue that may arise from the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said.
The GST overnight broke barriers among 29 states and unified over a dozen central and state levies but has also caused anxiety among businesses particularly smaller ones on compliance with regulations. Also, there are apprehensions of price rise and some disruptions but Adhia said the government is keeping a very close watch on the situation and would not allow any undue hike in rates or supplies to be disrupted.
He also sought to dismiss any apprehensions regarding compliance hardships saying there is no requirement for small businesses to issue receipts for goods and services sold as they are covered under the composition scheme that requires them to pay a fixed amount of tax if falling within a threshold of turnover. Even big businesses do not have to generate a computer bill on every sale and they can hand out a handwritten receipt with a proper invoice number which can be tabulated and filed as a tax return, he said.
Adhia said the ‘Feedback and Action Room’ set up for coordination between the central and state tax officials has not received report of any untoward incident in the past four days since the roll out of the GST.
“So far no incidents were reported where there was any problem. It seems the GST has been smoothly rolled out in the country and people have accepted it,” he said. Adhia added that the government has launched a media campaign to tell people about the GST and its impact on prices so that consumers can themselves ask the traders why there is no price cut.
“We are closely monitoring the price situation and supply situation… We want trade and industry to assist us and help us in reducing the price of commodities… Probably, competition and consumer education will take care of the situation. We may not need to use anti-profiteering (measure),” he said.
Adhia said 175 officers of additional secretary and joint secretary level have been roped in to monitor situation in the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and each of them would have 4 to 5 districts to look after.
“So far all reports are positive. There are many products on which prices have been reduced, these are the reports that are coming… (But) we have to keep our fingers crossed, it is too early to celebrate,” he said.
To ensure that businesses pass on the benefits of tax rate reduction under the new tax regime, the Central GST Act has an anti-profiteering section under which the authority can cancel registration of any entity or business if it fails to pass on to consumers the benefit of lower taxes.
Adhia said toll, mandi charges and fee on vehicle entry into states are not subsumed in the GST and will continue to be charged by local bodies or state governments.
All other levies on entry of goods have been subsumed in the GST, thereby resulting in abolition of entry barriers in 22 states. “We hope that within a month, 8 remaining states will be able to abolish the check posts,” he said.
He said a central monitoring committee, comprising of 15 top secretaries, will report to the Cabinet Secretary every Tuesday the situation on ground post GST implementation.
On the issue of registration for the GST, he said over three lakh new registrations have happened on the GST Network portal of which over two lakh have completed the process of filling up details.
On certain businesses unable to issue invoice post GST, Adhia said: “Some 4-5 days are needed to adjust for businesses who don’t know how much taxes are to be levied. But I’m pleasantly surprised that there are many dealers and small restaurants who have all adjusted to it (GST) from day 1.”