In a move to ensure that consumers enjoy the full benefits of GST rate cuts, the Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA). The duty of this agency is to ensure that the benefits of rate cuts under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) are passed on to consumers.
The establishment of this anti-profiteering indicates that the government wants the end users to enjoy the full benefits of GST rate cut. This top body established by the government will oversee the ways in which businesses charges taxes from their customers. The chairman and other members of the authority will be decided by a five-member committee headed by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha.
Consumers who feel that the GST benefits have not been passed to them can raise a complaint regarding the profiteering activities of a business. Complaints at the local level will be processed by a state-level screening committee. In cases where the impact is all over the nation, complaints can be made directly to a standing committee.
If the complaints are valid, the committees will refer the case to the Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS). The DGS will investigate the complaint and submit a report to the NAA. Action will be taken against business firms that do not pass on the GST benefit to customers. The authority will recommend businesses to return the undue profit to customers along with a penalty. The authority also holds the power to cancel the registration of businesses that are not implementing the GST rate cut. However, this action will be taken only as the last resort.
A week ago, the 23rd GST Council revised the tax rates of various consumer goods traded in the market. According to the new revision, the tax rate of about 200 products have been reduced from the highest 28%. With this change, there are only about 50 items in the tax list that would attract the maximum 28%.
New complaints are emerging that businesses are not passing the tax benefits to consumers. The establishment of this GST anti-profiteering authority will keep these cases in check.