The Union cabinet on Thursday gave its nod to the setting up of the anti-profiteering authority under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
This paves the way for the immediate establishment of this apex body, which is mandated to ensure that the benefits of the reduction in GST rates on goods or services are passed on to the ultimate consumers by way of a reduction in prices.
The establishment of the NAA, to be headed by a senior officer of the level of Secretary to the Government of India with four Technical Members from the Centre and/or the States, is one more measure aimed at reassuring consumers that Government is fully committed to take all possible steps to ensure the benefits of implementation of GST in terms of lower prices of the goods and services reach them.
It may be recalled that effective from midnight of 14th November, 2017 the GST rate has been slashed from 28% to 18% on goods falling under 178 headings. There are now only 50 items which attract the GST rate of 28%. Likewise, a large number of items have witnessed a reduction in GST rates from 18% to 12% and so on and some goods have been completely exempt from GST.
The "anti-profiteering" measures enshrined in the GST law provide an institutional mechanism to ensure that the full benefits of input tax credits and reduced GST rates on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers. This institutional framework comprises the NAA, a Standing Committee, Screening Committees in every State and the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).
Affected consumers who feel the benefit of commensurate reduction in prices is not being passed on when they purchase any goods or services may apply for relief to the Screening Committee in the particular State.
The cabinet also lifted control on the export of pulses.
Addressing a press conference Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad the removal of the prohibition on the export of all types of pulses would give farmers greater choice in marketing their products and lead to improved incomes.
The Cabinet also raised carpet area for two categories of houses eligible for a subsidy, from 90 sq mtrs to 120 sq mtrs and for second from 110 sq mtrs to 150 sq mtrs.