The Union government is working on enhancing legal powers for the Competition Commission of India (CCI) by amending some key provisions of antiprofiteering regulations on goods and services tax (GST), thus preparing the soil for two regulators to merge.
The move assumes significance as the National Anti-profiteering Authority’s (NAA’s) term ends in November, with no further extension being planned.
The Centre had early this year decided to subsume the NAA, the GST antiprofiteering watchdog, into the CCI.
The merger could be delayed if the relevant changes are not made before November-end. At present, the CCI’s structure lacks the legal powers and qualifications to deal with offenses related to GST.
“The GST law needs some amendment in order to subsume the NAA into the CCI. We may propose removing at least two provisions while modifying the one with respect to appointing members,” a senior government official told Business Standard.
The proposed amendments will require the GST Council’s approval.
Sources said the finance ministry could move an amendment to provisions related to referring GST related cases to the NAA and with respect to the “timeframe”. At present, the GST law mentions referring the case to the NAA. “It should be deleted or could be replaced with the CCI,” another official in the know said.
While the provision related to the timeframe deals with the existence of the NAA, and with the CCI being the perpetual body, the section needs to be removed, he said.
Besides, the ministry is also working on tweaking the eligibility criteria mandating four technical members apart from the chairman who are or have been commissioners of state tax or central tax for at least one year, the official said. The NAA was set up for two years till November 2019 to ensure any reduction in tax rates on any supplies of goods or services or input tax credit benefits. However, the tenure was extended till November 30, 2022.
“All pending cases require to be disposed of by November while those which remain may be referred to the CCI,” the official cited above said.
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