GST: Cabinet secy P K Sinha reviews price of essential commodities

Business Standard By Sanjeeb Mukherjee July 4, 2017, 01:00 IST

Similar reviews to be held for the next few weeks to ensure no spike in prices

Illustration: Ajay Mohanty

To ensure that prices of essential commodities, particularly daily use items, don’t shoot up due to implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), the central government on Monday held a high-level meeting of senior officials from the departments of textile, food and consumer affairs, food processing, railways, micro, small and medium enterprises, rural development, tourism, fertiliser, pharmaceuticals and financial services, among others.

Officials said all necessary steps, including revision of import duties on certain items such as sugar and edible oils, could be taken to nullify any possible impact of the GST on prices and supplies.

“The government has asked all departments to ensure that there is no shortage of products and consumer items in order to keep a check on prices, while special emphasis has been laid to keep prices of essential commodities under check,” an official statement said.

All ministries have been directed to provide all relevant information, including the GST rates, on their respective websites. Officials said those dealing with the public directly have been told to keep a special check.

Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, who held the review meeting, also directed the departments and ministries to ensure that retailers, dealers and shopkeepers display a price list under the GST of items sold by them. He also stressed that benefits of the 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 according to the new GST rates,” Sinha said.

A four-tier goods and services tax (GST) — at 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent — has been rolled out from July 1. Essential items such as salt, unpacked food grain and cereals have been kept zero-rated to ensure that there is no price rise.

According to the statement, departments have also been directed to be ready to deal with queries of their stakeholders.

A similar review meeting will now be held every week to keep a close watch on the GST roll-out.

The Cabinet secretary also 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 the implementation of the GST.

Taking stock

  • All ministries have been directed to provide all relevant information, including the GST rates, on their respective websites
  • Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha also directed the departments and ministries to ensure that retailers, dealers and shopkeepers display a price list under the GST of items sold by them
  • A review meeting will now be held every week to keep a close watch on the GST roll-out

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