CBEC chief  Vanaja Sarna says the government is closely monitoring daily price variations in over two dozen essential commodities to check at early stage any abnormal movement in rates after the GST rollout. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
CBEC chief Vanaja Sarna says the government is closely monitoring daily price variations in over two dozen essential commodities to check at early stage any abnormal movement in rates after the GST rollout. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Govt monitoring essential commodities’ price variations post GST: CBEC

CBEC chief Vanaja Sarna says prices of commodities have stayed mostly under check post the GST rollout and there has been no big instance of supply disruption

New Delhi: The government is closely monitoring daily price variations in over two dozen essential commodities—from wheat to tea—to check at early stage any abnormal movement in rates after the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST), the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) chairperson, Vanaja Sarna, said.

Prices have remained by-and-large under check post the GST implementation on 1 July and there has been no big instance of supply disruption, the chairperson of the indirect tax body told PTI.

The roll out of the biggest tax reform since Independence has been “relatively smooth" with multi-layer monitoring, and officers of the tax department have been working overtime to weed out major bottlenecks in the implementation, Sarna said.

GST unified 17 different levies, including central excise, service tax and value-added tax (VAT), and there were apprehensions of initial hiccups.

“The consumer affairs ministry is giving us the daily price and the price variations in common commodities. In that, there was nothing untoward that has happened. For the past 30 days, we get a report every single day," she said.

Sarna said prices of about 25-30 of the most common goods, including the food items used in every household—wheat, rice, pulses, sugar, tea—are being monitored by the ministry and it sends the daily reports to the revenue department and cabinet secretary office.

Post the GST rollout, the cabinet secretary had formed teams of over 200 senior bureaucrats to monitor on a daily basis price and supply situation and ensure there are no disruptions. These officers were given about three to four districts to monitor and report to the cabinet secretary any issue with regard to either shortage of goods or unusual price rise or something to be concerned about.

Asked if there have been reports of supply disruptions, Sarna said there have been instances in some odd pockets, may be for a short while. “Like shortage of a good for a day or two. But nothing which should be worrisome. And for most of these, it is related to MRP (maximum retail price) change. May be for a day or two goods were not available because they had to give the revised price...There was nothing untoward that has happened," she said.

The ministry of consumer affairs in July asked companies to display revised MRP, along with pre-GST printed sale price, to reflect the price change post the new tax regime.

The old MRP will have to be clearly on display along with the revised MRP sticker till 30 September. MRP, as per law, is the highest price that can be charged from a consumer after including all taxes. But in case of some commodities, the tax rate has changed post GST, altering the MRP.

Sarna said that so far the GST rollout has been relatively smooth. “When you go into something which is so transformational, no doubt that you will have people coming up with many issues but let me say that most of them were relatively small, containable," she added.

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