Govt to keep an eye on price rise & GST glitches
Sinha has written to secretaries of all ministries to put in place a grassroots mechanism to report price rise post-GST, software glitches, trader complaints, shortage of commodities and stakeholders who still have not switched to the new taxation regime. “To make the transition smooth and painless for the general public as well as for the traders, it is essential that all the government functionaries constantly obtain and analyse feedback from ground level and take corrective steps wherever necessary,” the letter said.
Earlier, the revenue department had asked all ministries to set up a GST cell in the ministries, subordinate offices and public sector undertakings to iron out any implementation issues. Now, Sinha has directed that government officials should get reports right down to the district level and compile weekly reports in the GST cell at the ministry.
Sinha has circulated a proforma, framed by the revenue department, to all ministries for the officials to fill from ground level reports.
The government’s concern over price rise is evident in the detailed proforma circulated. It seeks minute details and poses specific questions such as the position of prices of the products of the sector pre-GST and post-GST. If prices are going up, is there any specific reason?
If the prices are going down, what is the comparison pre-GST and post-GST? Has there been any shortage of goods reported in any commodity? The officials have been asked to keep an eye on complaints and queries, and immediately address them without delay. The proforma has sought details of queries or problems coming to the GST cell and how many have been resolved. Sinha said in the letter, “These cells shall constantly monitor and analyse the feedback from various channels such as nodal officers of attached organisations; call centres, consumer and business organisations, etc.
The issues posed may be resolved in real time in consultation with the revenue department. You may also ensure that PSUs and field formations under your administrative jurisdiction also take similar steps to facilitate smooth transition into GST platform.” The reports need to be compiled and sent to the cabinet secretary for a review meeting every Monday. The government has also sought information on success stories of each sector which can be used to dispel fears about GST.
ET View: Right Move
The PMO is right in keeping a tab on the implementation of GST, the biggest indirect tax reform to create a seamless market. Course corrections may be warranted and the GST council must take speedy decisions to remove any glitches that impact the industry, trade or consumers.
Creating a permanent secretariat for the Council makes sense. Ditto for an institutional mechanism to monitor and study the experience of GST as it rolls out.