GST: State to push for anti-profiteering clause

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finance minister T M Thomas Isaac told the assembly here on Thursday that Kerala would press the Union government to strictly implement the anti-profiteering clause to put an end to the unrealistic price rise in the post GST regime.

“Prices are supposed to come down with the advent of GST. But it’s just the reverse that is happening. Majority of the state’s representatives in GST council are still opposed to the strict implementation of the anti-profiteering clause, with immediate effect. The economic adviser to the Union government too was against the anti-profiteering, for which we pushed a lot.
The price rise is up by 2.13% in the post GST regime. The attitude of the Centre in this regard is regressive,” he told the House while responding to the points raised by the members who participated in the discussion on Kerala Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, which the assembly passed on Thursday.

Isaac said the state government would ask the GST council to release a detailed price index list of products and services, with details regarding the pre-GST cost and the post-GST cost. Isaac said it was no surprise that prices of a whole lot of products and services were unlikely to show a corresponding fall owing to the peculiar characteristics of Indian economy.

Even Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) was not willing to give an assurance in this regard. “The price of branded products are determined by the manufacturers alone. Many see GST as an opportunity to increase profit margins,” he said.

The minister, when some members pointed out the existential threat being encountered by small-scale traders and service providers owing to the sharp jump in tax rates in the post-GST regime, said that the government may consider such cases separately and think about returning the state government portion of tax being collected from them.

However, the minister said the confusion with regard to the roll-out of GST would be comparatively less than the roll out of value added tax (VAT) in the past. “There is no confusion in the conceptual level. But there are confusion in practising the same. That too would be over soon,” he added.