Industry body FICCI has called for abolition of anti-profiteering provisions in the GST law to allow market forces to determine prices of goods and service. The plea has been made in a set of pre-Budget recommendations submitted by the federation to the Finance Ministry for implementation in FY22 Budget.
The recommendations come at a time when the National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) has become active and is actively awarding penalties to companies for breach of anti-profiteering regulations that prohibit an entity to keep prices of their goods and services higher even if GST rates have fallen. The NAA had charged companies such as Samsung, P&G, McDonalds and others for not bringing down the prices of their products even though GST rates have fallen.
Under the GST law, a National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) and a Standing Committee on anti-profiteering have been set up to examine complaints of not passing on tax rate cut benefits to consumers. GST was rolled out on July 1, 2017. Directorate General of Anti Profiteering (DGAP) investigates profiteering complaints and submits report to NAA, which passes the final order.
The industry body had said that the tenure of NAA was initially prescribed for a two-year period and with GST law largely settled, it is recommended that the determination of prices should be left to the market forces and the provision of anti-profiteering in the GST law should be discontinued prospective effect.
However, with GST rates still far from being settled and GST Council still to work out rates to eliminate inverted duty structure in several products, it is unlikely that NAA will be discontinued at this juncture. In any case, a decision on discontinuing NAA will require consensus from states and a decision will have to go through the GST Council.
FICCI had said that lack of guidelines on the subject is just adding to ambiguity in implementation of anti-profiteering provision by the industry, justifying its case for abolition of such provisions.