GST: Cabinet secretary reviews situation after 1 July implementation

Live mint By PTI Mon, Jul 03 2017. 10 13 PM IST

Cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha all government departments and ministries to ensure there is no shortage of goods and prices of essential items are kept under check

Cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha has said that benefits of GST rates should be passed on to consumers, which would in turn also keep inflation under control. Photo: HT

New Delhi: Three days into Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha on Monday asked all ministries and departments to ensure that there is no shortage of goods, and prices of essential items are kept under check.

Sinha held a review meeting to take stock of situation post implementation of the new tax regime, and departments have been asked to ensure that retailers, dealers/shopkeepers should display a price list under GST of items sold by them.

“Government has asked all the departments to ensure that their is no shortage of products and consumer items in order to keep a check on prices. Special emphasis was laid on to keep prices of essential commodities under check,” a finance ministry statement said.

Sinha stressed that benefits of GST should be passed on to consumers, which would in turn also keep inflation under control. “Various machines used by dealers, retailers for computerised billing should be calibrated at the earliest as per the new GST rates,” he added.

A four tier goods and services tax (GST)—5, 12, 18 and 28%—has been rolled out from 1 July. Essential items like salt, unpacked food grains, cereals have been kept a zero rated to ensure that there is no price rise.

Sinha also asked departments to be ready to deal with queries of their stakeholders. “In order to do so, officers of every ministry should equip themselves and have full knowledge of the details relating to GST concerning their respective ministry,” he said.

A similar review meeting will be held every week to keep a close watch on GST rollout.

Sinha has also asked all the departments/ministry to provide all the relevant information relating to GST concerning their ministry/department, including GST rates on their respective websites. He asked the secretaries to get more detailed feedback and in-depth details of the field from their respective stakeholders, officers and consumers at large after GST implementation.

The officers should be fully ready to deal with it so that there is quick response to any situation, the statement said. Sinha asked them to launch campaigns to make their stakeholders and consumers fully aware about GST related matters concerning their respective ministry/department.

Apart from revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, the 20 secretaries, including from textile, consumer affairs, food processing, railways, micro small and medium enterprises, rural development, tourism, fertiliser, pharma, and financial services attended the meeting. Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) officials were present in the meeting.

On 20 June, Sinha had taken GST preparedness meeting with 30 ministries and departments and had asked the secretaries to organise outreach meetings and publicity campaigns through their departments and PSUs for explaining the provisions of new law and rules to their stakeholders.

The finance ministry had on Sunday said that the two days of GST rollout has passed “without any major problems being reported” from the field offices. “The revenue department has got encouraging reports from the roadside dhabas and big restaurants as well as from kirana shops to departmental stores which, in turn, have started getting acclimatised to the new tax system,” it had said.

The biggest indirect tax since Independence, GST removes at least 17 different taxes and transforms India into a single market for seamless movement of goods and services.

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