The Agrofood Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the Tamil Nadu government’s move to constitute an advisory council to identify the compliance issues and difficulties concerning GST rates on various commodities. The Chamber has been suggesting for such a council for the past three years, it said.

“We profusely thank Chief Minister MK Stalin and Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan for constituting an advisory council under the chairmanship of Aravind P Datar, senior advocate at the Supreme Court, to identify the compliance issues and difficulties experienced by trade and industry concerning GST rates applied to various commodities, and to bring them to the notice of the GST council,” said S Rethinavelu, President of Agrofood Chamber said in a statement.

‘Tax terrorism’

GST was seen as a progressive taxation system and welcomed by the trade and industry, however, it has turned out to be a “tax terrorism”, especially for micro and small trade and industrialists, the statement added. Rethinavelu attributed it to “the conundrum created by the haphazard implementation of the Act, by hundreds and hundreds of notifications, clarifications and amendments issued on the day in and day out, that too, with retrospective effect from 2017”.

Most of the small enterprises were closed fearing penal actions under GST for no fault of theirs, he said.

‘Hear views of all’

The Datar council would identify the problems with the institutional mechanisms that support GST, which include the independence of decision-makers and the constitution of the GST Tribunal, Rethinavelu added.

“Now we see a ray of hope that our problems in GST would be properly addressed. Even though traders have not been specifically mentioned in the terms of reference, we hope that their plight would be considered under MSMEs. We also request the council to tour widely to all the trade and industrial centres of Tamil Nadu and hear the views of leading chambers of commerce before submitting its report,” said Rathinavelu.