Big firms set GST ball rolling with workshops, helplines for suppliers

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 26, 2017

Not just their own distributors, companies are also making significant investments in getting trade partners across the ecosystems GST-ready.

With lack of adequate resources for distributors and small traders to get familiar with various aspects of GST, companies are making significant investments not just to put their own house in order, but also train their trade partners.

From conducting training sessions and workshops to setting up helplines and helpdesks, companies across sectors have gone on an overdrive to ensure that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) transition is smooth across the ecosystem.

For instance, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB), the bottling arm of Coca-Cola India, has mandated about 100 trainers to conduct training sessions for its 4,000-strong distributor base.

“The training teams are positioned across geographies, based on their language proficiency and relationship with the distributors. Each training team constitutes three members who are experts in the domains of finance and taxation, sales and distribution and training techniques. These training sessions are being conducted in their local languages, either at the HCCB offices, depots or at a centrally located hotel banquet,” a spokesperson for Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages said.

Already about 50 per cent of HCCB’s distributors have now been familiarised in various aspects of GST, which includes rates for beverages, familiarisation with the GST portal for registration, understanding GST credit mechanism and conducting business in the GST regime after July 1.

Not just their own distributors, companies are also making significant investments in getting trade partners across the ecosystems GST-ready. For instance, consumer durables major Videocon, in collaboration with industry chamber Assocham, is conducting seminars on GST for consumer electronics trade partners across 200 cities.

CM Singh, COO, Videocon, said: “We felt that retailers and distributors, who we have such long-standing relationships with, were feeling vulnerable about this big transition to GST. We decided to conduct these seminars, which bring together experts and are helping resolve their queries regarding GST implementation.

“These seminars are not just being conducted in the bigger towns alone, we are going to tier 2 and 3 towns too. We are making significant investments in this initiative.”

Besides conducting workshops, companies such as Walmart India have set up a dedicated helpline to address queries of kirana stores and resellers. Drawing on the strength of a pool of experts, the toll-free helpline can handle 2,500 queries per day with services available in Hindi, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi and English.

A spokesperson for Walmart India said that a significant number of its suppliers base consists of SME and regional suppliers, and it was committed to helping its partners with this transition to the new tax regime.

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Published on June 26, 2017
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