GST’s anti-profiteering body calls for prioritising consumer complaints on rate cut benefit

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 24, 2021

NAA Secretary AK Goel requested Centre and States to take steps to ensure that the legislative intent of Section 171 of the CGST Act is complied with

National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) on Wednesday urged tax officials to ensure benefit of GST rate cut on Covid-related materials. It has also called to prioritise common consumer complaints.

NAA, a statutory mechanism under GST Act, is assigned to ensure the commensurate benefits of the reduction in GST rates by the GST Council and also to make sure the Input tax credit are passed on to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in the prices by the suppliers.

In an office memorandum (OM) sent to top GST officials in the Centre as well in States, NAA Secretary AK Goel requested them “to take all possible steps envisaged under the GST Laws to ensure that the legislative intent of Section 171 of the CGST Act is complied with and to issue directions to your officers to take action as mandated” under the law. Further, power under the law to be used for collection of evidence which may be required to take action against the errant suppliers.

“I have also been directed to request you to take up the complaints filed by consumers on priority and to forward the same to the Anti-Profiteering apparatus i.e., the State level screening committee and the Standing Committee in Anti-Profiteering,” Goel wrote.

Commenting on the OM, Rajat Bose, Partner with Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas said it is a step in the right direction. “The government should give wide publicity to Section 171 of the CGST Act and educate the consumers of their rights against companies who are not passing on the benefit of reduction in GST rates on Covid-related items,” he said

The GST Council, in its meeting on June 12, decided NIL or lower rates of GST for 18 Covid-relief products for a limited period. These include medicines, hand sanitisers, pulse oximeters, temperature checking equipment beside others. Accordingly, Finance Ministry issued a notification dated June 14 prescribing NIL tax for medicines such as Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B, and 5 per cent GST on Remdesvir and Heparin (anti-coagulant).

Among other products, 5 per cent GST will be applicable for hand sanitisers, pulse oximeters and oxygen concentrators/ generators beside others.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has already asked drug manufacturers and marketing companies, formulations and medical devices to revise the Maximum Retail Prices (MRP) based on lower GST. More importantly, it has asked companies to ensure compliance of lower tax on existing stock.

Published on June 24, 2021

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