GST: Anti-profiteering Panel to be set up
The GST Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley comprising of state finance ministers as members have decided to set up a five-member anti-profiteering authority to decide on levying the penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under GST regime. The GST Council has also approved the anti-profiteering rules.
The anti-profiteering committee would be headed by a retired secretary-level officer. The authority would ask the businesses to pass on the benefit of price reduction on a proportionate basis to consumers. Apart from the chairman, the other members of the committee will be joint secretary-level officers who have been commissioners in central excise and service tax either at the Centre or states.
The government will constitute a search-cum-selection committee for finalising the members of the anti-profiteering authority.
In cases where consumers cannot be identified, the amount would be credited to the consumer welfare fund.
The committee would be given powers to take Suo Motu action, besides acting on complaints of profiteering. The complaints of profiteering will initially come to the Standing Committee constituting of tax officials from states and the Centre. Then the complaint will be forwarded to the Directorate of Safeguards (DGS) for investigation, which will take about 2-3 months to complete the inquiry. After the investigation, the report would be submitted to the anti-profiteering authority which will take a decision on the penalty.
The anti-profiteering authority will have a sunset date of two years and will decide on the penalty to be levied.
Section 171 of the Central GST Act provides that reduction in tax rate has to be passed on to the customers by way of commensurate reduction in prices.