The National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) has been constituted under Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 to ensure that the reduction in rate of tax or the benefit of input tax credit is passed on to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices. Further, the following steps have been taken by the NAA to ensure that customers get the full benefit of tax cuts:
Holding regular meetings with the Zonal Screening Committees and the Chief Commissioners of Central GST to stress upon consumer awareness programmes;
–> Launching a helpline to resolve the queries of citizens regarding registration of complaints against profiteering.
–> Receiving complaints through email and NAA portal.
–> Working with consumer welfare organizations in order to facilitate outreach activities.
A number of complaints regarding companies not passing on the full benefits of tax cuts to consumers have been received by the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA).
Chairman of NAA :
B N Sharma IAS, Chairman, NAA and Ex-Officio Secretary of GoI
He is the first Chairman of this apex Authority in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.
Shri B.N. Sharma, an IAS officer of 1985 batch belonging to Rajasthan cadre, was previously posted as Additional Secretary in the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
Shri B.N. Sharma has been closely associated with the formulation of GST and its implementation. He has also worked as Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Power and prior to that, in the Commercial Taxes Department in the State of Rajasthan.
Shri B.N. Sharma would be assisted by four senior officials of the rank of Joint Secretary and above, who have been appointed as Technical Members in the Authority. These officials are
-> Shri J.C. Chauhan, Chairman Tax Tribunal, Himachal Pradesh;
-> Shri Bijay Kumar, Principal Commissioner Central GST, Kolkata;
-> Shri C.L. Mahar, Principal Commissioner Central GST, Meerut and
-> Ms. R. Bhagyadevi, ADG, Systems (CBIC), Chennai.
The Authority has been set up for a two-year period, which would begin from 31 Dec 2017.
The Authority is mandated to ensure that the benefits of input credit and the reduction in GST rates on specified goods or services are passed on to the consumers by way of a commensurate reduction in prices.
With the Chairman and Technical Members now having been appointed, the Authority becomes functional thereby reassuring consumers of Governments’ commitment that GST would result in lower prices of goods and services.
Anti Profiteering Investigation :
In addition to the Authority, the institutional mechanism for effective implementation of the “anti-profiteering” measures enshrined in the GST rules consists of a Standing Committee, State level Screening Committees and the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC).
Consumers who are aggrieved that there has been no commensurate reduction in prices may apply for relief to the Screening Committee in the State. After forming a prima facie view on the substance of the application, the matter would be referred to a Standing Committee at the Centre.
The Standing Committee shall, in turn, ask the Director General of Safeguards, CBIC to carry out detailed investigation.
At Present Members of Standing Committee are :
1) Sh. OP Dadhich, Principal Commissioner, Customs and Central GST;
2) Sh. Himanshu Gupta, Principal Commissioner, Central GST North;
3) Sh. H.Rajesh Prsad, VAT Commissioner Delhi and
4) Mrs. Ashima Brar, VAT Commissioner Haryana.
The Director General of Safeguards shall report its findings to the Authority. The Screening Committee is expected to look into complaints of local nature while the Standing Committee would ordinarily enquire into cases of mass impact with All India ramification.
Once the Authority confirms there is justification to apply anti-profiteering measures, it has the authority to order the business concerned to reduce its prices or return the undue benefit availed along with interest @18% to the consumers of the goods or services.
If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the consumers, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund.
The Authority also has the power to impose penalty on the defaulting business or even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.
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