Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the Ram Vilas Paswan-led consumer affairs ministry to have a “special focus” on complaints from consumers regarding the goods and services tax (GST) and overcharging by retail outlets.
The directions were issued last week when the public grievances received by the ministry were reviewed by the PM and senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Two retired government officials-cum-experts have now been hired by the consumer affairs ministry to man its National Consumer Helpline regarding complaints coming in regarding GST, address the queries regarding the GST rates on various items, and to liaison and refer many such complaints to the Central Bureau of Excise and Customs (CBEC), which is the nodal authority for GST rollout.
Consumers have been complaining that retailers are not passing on benefits of GST rate cuts on several items, officials said. Another complaint coming to the ministry, they said, is that GST is being charged on discounted prices. “For example, an item of Rs 100 is being sold at 30% discount but GST is charged on Rs 70 price. This is a misleading claim on the discount.
They should declare the correct discount as the GST should include all taxes and cannot be above MRP,” said a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified.
Many calls to the consumer affairs helpline are also regarding confusion over GST, officials said.
The ministry, which only covers packaged commodities under its ambit, has already allowed for special stickers to be put on the commodities to show reduced GST prices.
“The ministry has also told the state legal metrology offices to check and carry out inspections in all states on whether the GST reduction benefits are being passed on to consumers,” said another senior official.
Since the helpline is the “first responder” to all such consumer complaints including on GST, the PMO has directed a “special focus” on the part of the ministry to attend to such complaints.
Source : https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/pm-asks-consumer-affairs-ministry-to-pay-special-attention-on-gst-complaints/articleshow/61826864.cms