If your retailer is not selling daily products at the reduced price, you can soon be able to file a complaint to the newly formed National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA), even as the Finance Ministry talks tough on passing the GST rate cut benefits to consumers. Last week Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia passed the onus to FMCG firms and big corporates to ensure that retailers pass on the benefit of GST rate cut to consumers and sell their products only after lowering the MRP.
So far Dabur, P&G, Hindustan Unilever and ITC have announced that they are in the process of reducing prices of commonly used items. If the benefit is not passed to consumers, they can file a complaint with Anti-Profiteering Authority, the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) tweeted on Wednesday.
A four-member standing committee, comprising tax officials of the Centre and states, has been set up to receive complaints of undue profiteering by any entity under the new GST regime. As per the structure of the anti-profiteering mechanism in the GST regime, complaints which are of local nature would be first sent to the state-level ‘screening committee’, while those of national level would be sent to the ‘standing committee’.
If the complaints have merit, then the respective committees would refer the cases for further investigation to the Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS). The DGS would generally take about three months to complete the investigation and send the report to the anti-profiteering authority.
The anti-profiteering authority, if it finds that a company has not passed on GST benefits, will either direct the firm to pass on benefits to consumers or if the beneficiary cannot be identified will ask the firm to transfer the amount to a ‘consumer welfare fund’ within a specified timeline.
The GST Council in its 23rd Meeting held on November 10 in Guwahati, had recommended the reduction of the GST rate from 28% to 18% or lower tax slabs on goods falling under 178 headings.