New Delhi/Mumbai, July 31, 2017

While adoption of the new 4-tiered rate structure has been smooth, pockets of confusion over structure, pricing still exist

After initial hiccups, India seems to have come to terms with the Goods and Service Tax (GST) which kicked off on July 1.

According to the chamber of associations of Maharashtra industry and trade (CAMIT), the transition has been quite smooth. “There are still some issues but overall the traders have now got used to GST,” said Mohan Gurnani, chairman, CAMIT.

The GST department which was previously the sales tax department in states had started a helpline and deputed staff to help traders. Seminars were also held to spread awareness.

Several shopkeepers however, remain confused about the 4-tiered GST rates.

Subir Pramanik, owner of a mobile phone and accessories shop at Kasba in south Kolkata said he couldn’t sell any of the accessories in the first 15 days of the GST regime. “There are varying rates for different products. It took me 15 days to enter the product codes and new GST rates in my computer system. I couldn’t sell anything till this was done. It was a tough job,” said Parmanik.

To tide over the initial teething problems, several trader groups in Bhopal have organised tutorials in the past month.

The confederation of all India traders said adoption has been smooth and the government has been pro-active in clearing doubt.

But certain sectors continue to rue GST. Hoteliers in Mumbai say that air conditioned (AC) and semi-AC facilities have to shell out 18 % GST while non-AC establishments are charged at 12%.However, non-AC facilities serving alcohol have to pay 18 %. According to Adarsh Shetty, President, Indian hotels and restaurants association, ACs are no longer a luxury but a necessity. “We have to charge 18% even for takeaway orders from our AC restaurant. This has really reduced our business but then we have no choice,” said Shetty.

[The Hindustan Times]