Is GST making the public pay more or is it wrongly implemented?

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Editorial

Thomas Lim
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by now is known for harsh implementation of laws like the November 8, 2016 demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), an indirect tax which was introduced in India on July 1, 2017; both have turned out to be affecting the masses and not as promised of bringing uniformity across the nation. The total failure of the note ban has already been exposed by the report of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which revealed the low efficacy of last November’s demonetisation of high-value currency through its annual report for the last fiscal; it also showed the growth of unemployment.

Next, the roll out of GST, although enough time was given, but this time too like the demonetization, has been implemented without any preparation. About three months before the roll out, all manufacturing and production units ceased supply, but most of the old stocks are still being circulated in the market, on which the GST is being added, meaning all consumers are now paying the old price of all products plus the prescribed GST.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on September 09, 2017 accepted that the GST filing portal encountering increasing technical glitches, as the Council has decided to set up a five-member ministerial panel to oversee its functioning and smoothen the process. He made the remark after the last date to file returns of GSTR-1 for July, which was to end on Sunday, was extended by a month till October 10.
Jaitley justified in saying that since the work is huge, the Council decided a new schedule itself for filing returns. Because of the load on the system, he said government wants to give adequate time to taxpayers. He added that there are transient challenges in technology.
The Council decided to appoint a committee, the composition of which will be announced in a day or two. It will consist of ministers who will interact with GST to ensure a smooth transformation. The decision was taken after the Council reviewed the functioning of the GST Network (GSTN) platform.
Briefing the media in Hydrabad after the second review meeting post the Goods and Services Tax roll out, Jaitley said that in consonance with the recommendations of the fitment committee, the tax rates on approximately 30 goods of common man’s utility, including raincoats, rubber bands and batter for idli and dosa, have been reduced, whereas GST cess will go up on SUVs and large cars.
Also, Khadi fabric through Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956 (KVIC) stores will now be exempted under GST.
Talking about the increase in cess rates on automobiles, he said that while status quo has been maintained for small cars (petrol and diesel), hybrid cars and 13-seater vehicles, the Council decided to increase the cess rates for some segments.
GST cess on mid-segment cars has been increased by 2 per cent, for large segment cars it has been increased by 5 per cent and for SUVs by 7 per cent, he said.
One can imagine, even after two months of the GST roll out, Finance Ministry is still deciding tax rates on various items.
Now the point to ponder, how will the consumer get the refund for the excess payment in the name of GST. Above that there are many stalls charging the consumer the GST without even registering. On demand to show the registration number, they failed to produced the same and seek time from the consumer. Who is to check on such malpractices?
As of now, even the life saving drugs, oxygen and other health care apparatus are costing more because of the GST. One cannot understand how some hospital even charge GST for the hospital room from General Ward to the Luxury one according to the percentages laid out. These have made the medical health care much more expensive from the already unaffordable health care services.
Through assured of the fall of price for all essential commodities, but there is no sign of it till now, whereas GST is being added to all essential commodities above the printed MRP rates. Even the services provided by specialized or resources person are being charged the GST!
As of now the council needs to speed up the process of calculating the GST as demanded, because till than all consumer are paying extra.


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