In an immediate follow up action of last week's Cabinet approval for
creation of the posts of Chairman and Technical Members of the National
Anti-profiteering Authority under GST, the Government today issued orders
appointing senior IAS officer Shri B.N. Sharma, as the first Chairman of this
apex Authority in the rank of Secretary to Government of India, says an
Shri B.N. Sharma, an IAS officer of 1985 batch belonging to Rajasthan
cadre, is currently 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. As its first Chairman, Shri B.N. Sharma is expected
to give a direction to the Authority in boosting the confidence of consumers
that GST is a ''Good and Simple Tax'' in the overall national interest.
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 GST,
Kolkata; Shri C.L. Mahar, Principal Commissioner GST, Meerut; and Ms. R.
Bhagyadevi, ADG, Systems, Chennai.
The appointment orders of Shri B.N. Sharma as Chairman and of the other
officials as Technical Members of the Authority were
issued on the recommendation of a high level Selection Committee headed by Shri
P.K. Sinha, Cabinet Secretary. Revenue Secretary, Chairman, CBEC and Chief
Secretaries of States of Maharashtra and Tamilnadu were the other members of
the Selection Committee.
The Authority has been set up for a two-year period, which would begin
from the date Shri B.N. Sharma assumes charge as Chairman.
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.
It may be recalled that in almost every meeting, the GST Council has
been engaged in rationalizing and reducing the GST rates on a wide spectrum of
goods and services. The last and indeed the most significant reduction took
place from midnight of 14 November, 2017 when the GST rate were slashed
from 28% to 18% on goods falling under 178 headings. This now leaves only 50
items which attract the highest GST rate of 28%. Likewise, a large number of
items witnessed a reduction in GST rates from 18% to 12% and so on with some
goods being completely exempt from GST.
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 Excise &
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, CBEC
to carry out detailed investigation. 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
The Authority shall function from the Jeevan Bharti Building, Connaught
Place, New Delhi. The secretariat for the Authority shall be as follows:
Directorate General of Safeguards,
2nd Floor, Bhai Veer Singh Sahitya Sadan,
Bhai Veer Singh Marg, Gole Market,
New Delhi: 110001.