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Rates revisions will be left to GST Council discretion: CBEC chief

The decision on revising the tax rates fixed on various goods and services has been left to the discretion of the GST Council, Central Board of Excise and Customs Chairperson Vanaja Sarna said on Monday.

"We have been getting representations from various industries and businesses to revise rates. So, whether any of the items will be opened for revision or not, it is something the council will take a call on that. It is meeting on June 3," she said.

Various industries and businesses, including traders, FMCG and automobiles had been petitioning the central government for revising rates, she told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of new campus of the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics here.
Sarna also said that the Council could revise rates if there is any justification for reconsideration.

"All these issues can be taken up later. It is not as though it is sealed. If there is any justification for reconsideration, I am sure the Council will take it up," she said.

Sarna, however, said the July 1 deadline for rolling out GST could make it difficult for the Council to reconsider tax rates.

"At this stage, it will be very difficult to say if the council will actually reopen (revise) any of the rates because of the time factor involved in bringing out the GST. So it is a call that the council will have to take," she said.

"One must remember, if you open up any of these, then there will be no stop to revisionary demands," Sarna added. To a query,Sarna said though the anti-profiteering agency has not been set up to curb industry taking undue advantage to create arbitrage before GST roll out on July 1, the government would have the rights to question it against hiking prices arbitrarily.

"The anti-profiteering agency is yet to be set up, but we will have all the rights to question the industry against hiking prices arbitrarily," she said. The anti-profiteering provision was included in CGST law to ensure a commensurate reduction in prices for consumers if there is a lowering of tax rate for goods and services, Sarna said.
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