GST scenario in discomposure as consumers are charged above MRP!
It has been already half a year since the path-breaking legislation, the Goods and Services Tax Bill was passed in the central hall of the Parliament of India. The much-awaited GST Bill that was approved by the Indian Parliament on 1st July 2017, had rolled in the Indian economy with load uproar and rave revels alike. Despite consistent agitation from the gloomy naysayers of the opposition, the bill had received approval of the majority government.
The history of Indian Parliament tells us that every new legislation has arrived with some of the other loopholes.
So has this noteworthy bill. In spite of the roaring success of online GST registration till date, what has been the matter of utter displeasure among the consumers is the imposing of GST by the retailers over and above the Maximum Retail Price (MRP).
There is no doubt that every novel economic move raises queries in everyone’s head, be it the New Economic Policy-1991 or the most recent GST Bill. Inevitably, the manipulators play their part by taking undue benefit of this ignorance. Undoubtedly, the deceptive traders have unlawfully taken advantage of the obliviousness and have begun to charge GST over the MRP, which is illegal, altogether triggering an intimidation among the consumers.
Till date, there have been numerous grievances raised by the consumers against the retailers for levying of GST as a surcharge over the MRP. The central government in this respect has made it very clear that anything charged over and above MRP mentioned on the package, is absolutely illegitimate.
The illustration given above was shared by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), and it shows clippings of invoices from two retail outlets, in central and south Delhi region respectively.
Owing to the relentless confab over the issue on various government-run platforms such as Mygov.in, CBEC, Ministry of Finance portal and GST’s twitter handle GST@GOI, the matter was also taken to the GST Council presided by the Union Minister of Finance Sh. Arun Jaitley November 10, 2017.
To clearly perceive the state of affairs in this regard, we must refer to the case studies related to two local retail outlets of Delhi and Noida.
The first one shows that a certain brand of talcum powder sold at a grocery outlet had MRP â‚¹ 100, which was inclusive of all taxes (i.e. GST) and was fairly sold by the vendor at the same price. On the other hand, another vendor had charged additional GST over the MRP of the same brand of talcum powder.
Similarly, there is another illustration showing the invoice of an eminent retail outlet in Noida. It clearly shows that the retailer has charged extra CGST as well as SGST from the consumer, above the MRP of a certain brand of a Namkeen. Very importantly, such glitches related to the fleecing of customers in the name of indirect taxes had laid the basis for the GST proposal. Reprehensibly, due to the deceptiveness of some vendors, the problem continues to be a bone in the throat of the consumers. This is sadly paving a political backlash as the opposition is portraying GST bill as repressive tax regime.
However, as a vigilant customer, one must be aware of the fact the Maximum Retail Price is the final comprehensive price of the goods, which is inclusive of all taxes, and that anything charged over it is unlawful. Despite, the easy norms like reduction of penalty on delayed online GST registration from â‚¹100 to â‚¹50 per day, the GST Council on November 2018 in this regard, has introduced certain stringent measures to curb tax swindling by the shopkeepers.
Where to lodge a complaint if anybody charges GST over MRP?
No doubt, the only way to give a wide berth to the discomfiture arising out of unfair charging of GST is to act as an aware consumer and take serious note of such anomalies.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs has broadly specified that if any retailer levies additional GST on MRP, the consumer must lodge the complaint against him at the consumer forum and various NPOs for protection of consumer rights.
MRP laws after implementation of GST:
As a further step towards consumer protection, the Union government has imposed stringent measures on the retailers who have legally gone through GST registration. Here are some broad MRP guidelines that have been implemented after the introduction of GST:
- If there is any hike in the price of any article after the introduction of GST, the retailer must release an advertisement in at least 2 prominent national dailies. This is applicable to all stocked products only.
- However, if there is any slump in the price of any article after the introduction of GST, the retailer need not advertise it anywhere.
- Nevertheless, the retailers were supposed to put new price-tags along with the old tags till 30th of September, 2017, in order to confirm the genuineness of price.
As a steadfast entrepreneur, one must abide by these guidelines. Moreover, the government has eased the online GST registration procedure too much extent.