CUTS International has urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to ensure that penalties levied under the Central GST Act 2018 for profiteering should be credited to the Consumer Welfare Fund.

CUTS International is a consumer public policy research and advocacy group.

In a letter, CUTS General Secretary Pradeep S Mehta stated that in 1992, through a revision to the Central Salt and Excise Act of 1944, the Consumer Welfare Fund had been formed to credit all money claimed by the manufacturer against excess excise recovery.

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The Consumer Welfare Fund, under the supervision of the Department of Consumer Affairs, provided financial support to promote and defend consumer welfare and raise consumer awareness, while strengthening the country’s consumer movement, particularly in rural regions.

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“In this fund, the money, which is not refundable to the manufacturers on the basis of litigation, is being credited. After all, the money was collected from consumers by such firms and they would have been unjustly enriched if the amount was refunded to them,” the organisation added.

It noted that, so far, ₹800 crore worth of penalties have been levied by the anti-profiteering authority from business and a further ₹3,000 crore is expected in the future.