The government is closely monitoring daily price variations in over two dozen essential commodities – from wheat to tea – to check at early stage any abnormal movement in rates post GST rollout, CBEC Chairperson Vanaja Sarna said. Prices have remained by-and-large under check post Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation on July 1 and there has been no big instance of supply disruption, the chairperson of the indirect tax body told PTI.
The roll out of the biggest tax reform since Independence has been “relatively smooth” with multi-layer monitoring and officers of the tax department have been working overtime to weed out major bottlenecks in the implementation, she said. GST unified 17 different levies including central excise, service tax and VAT and there were apprehensions of initial hiccups. “The Consumer Affairs Ministry is giving us the daily price, the price variations in common commodities. In that there was nothing untoward that has happened. For the past 30 days we get a report every single day,” Sarna said.
She said prices of about 25-30 of the most common goods, the food items used in every household – wheat, rice, pulses, sugar, tea – are being monitored by the ministry and it sends the daily reports to the revenue department and Cabinet Secretary office.
Post the rollout, the Cabinet Secretary had formed teams of over 200 senior bureaucrats to monitor on a daily basis price and supply situation and ensure there are no disruptions. These officers were given about 3-4 districts to monitor and report to the Cabinet Secretary any issue with regard to either shortage of goods or unusual price rise or something to be concerned about. Asked if there have been reports of supply disruption, Sarna said there have been instances in some odd pockets, may be for a short while.
“Like a shortage of a good for a day or two. But nothing which should be worrisome. And for most of these, it is related to MRP change. May be for a day or two goods were not available because they had to give the revised price… There was nothing untoward that has happened,” she said. The ministry of consumer affairs last month asked companies to display revised MRP, along with pre-GST printed sale price, to reflect the price change post the new tax regime. The old MRP will have to be clearly on display along with the revised MRP sticker till September 30.
MRP or Maximum Retail Price, as per law, is the highest price that can be charged to a consumer after including all taxes. But in case of some commodities, the tax rate has changed post GST, altering the MRP. Sarna said so far the GST rollout has been relatively smooth. “When you go into something which is so transformational, no doubt that you will have people coming up with many many issues but let me say that most of them were relatively small, containable,” she added.