Amid pressure from some states, the GST Council will soon start publishing rates of various products to prod companies to pass on gains, including those from input tax credit.
“To begin with, 150 items will be taken up. It will have a detailed explanation of previous taxes and prices as well as new prices after GST. It will also explain the price differential between the two tax regimes,” said an official who did not wish to be identified.
More items would be added once the campaign with 150 products takes off.
Another officer said, “This will only be illustrative.”
While the government had discussed a plan for a detailed price list incorporating the impact of GST, it has released a mobile app listing the tax rates.
Sources said states such as Kerala, West Bengal and Bihar led the charge at Saturday’s meeting to lay down the process and pressurise companies to reduce prices as several ministers argued that prices have not come down after GST.
“There is a need to end this perception to ensure acceptance of GST among consumers,” said one of the officials cited earlier.
Keeping prices under check after the rollout of GST is a key priority for the government and the states’ demand for product-specific explanation of differences in prices found favour with the Centre.
There were some ministers who wanted to let companies decide on pricing, at least in the short term, arguing that it will be against the spirit of empowering businesses and making life simpler. “What they want is price control, which will result in inspector raj,” said a source.
Already, officers in states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu seem to have jumped the gun and shot off letters seeking details of price changes, while others such as Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry have limited themselves to phone calls. Durables and FMCG players as well as fast food chains have received enquiries regarding prices, which are not permitted.