NEW DELHI: A day after the new GST rates came into effect, the Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the proposal to set up the National Anti-profiteering Authority, which will take steps to ensure that consumers get the benefit of reduced prices under the new indirect tax regime. According to a government release, the Anti-profiteering Authority will be headed by a senior officer of the level of Secretary to the Government of India with four Technical Members to be deputed from the Centre and States.
"The National Anti-Profiteering Authority is an assurance to consumers of India. If any consumer feels that the benefit of tax rate cut is not being passed on, then he can complain to the Authority," said Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
Prasad claimed that this reflects the government's commitment to taking all possible steps to ensure the benefits of implementation of GST reach the common man. He pointed out that the tax burden of essential item has come down with only 50 items now attracting the highest tax rate of 28 per cent.
The GST Council, chaired by the Union finance minister and comprising state counterparts, had last week decided to slash tax rates of about 200 items in the GST regime and lowered tax rates on AC and non-AC restaurants to five per cent.
The anti-profiteering measures enshrined in the GST law provide an institutional mechanism to ensure the full benefits of input tax credits and reduced GST rates on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers.
“This institutional framework comprises the NAA, a Standing Committee, Screening Committees in every State and the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise & Customs,” the government release noted.
The Authority will have the power to order suppliers/businesses found to be not passing on the GST benefits to consumers, it can ask these entities to reduce price or return the undue benefit availed by them along with interest to the recipient of the goods or services.
“If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the recipient, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund. In extreme cases, the NAA can impose a penalty on the defaulting business entity and even order the cancellation of its registration under GST,” the government release adds.