By Nirbhay Kumar
New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms have topped the list of customers complaints list for over-charging ever since the new indirect tax regime Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1, 2017.
Restaurateurs came second, followed by entertainment and media firms.
As per official data, as many as 42 consumer complaints were registered against various FMCG companies with many of them found to be not passing the benefits of lower tax rates.
As GST rates were cut across various categories in the GST Council meetings to reduce tax incidence on consumers, the companies were expected to pass on the benefit by lowering prices in proportion to the rate reduction.
It was, however, found that many companies had not passed on the benefit of lower tax and indulged in profiteering. Complaints were later filed against them and the GST anti-profiteering watchdog National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) took up the cases.
Some of the FMCG majors like Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), Procter & Gamble India (P&G) and Nestle were found to have profiteered from the lower tax regime.
In the latest case, the NAA last week ordered Nestle to deposit Rs 73.15 crore with Consumer Welfare Fund for not passing GST rate reduction benefit to consumers. The FMCG major has, however, said that it will consider appropriate action after studying the same.
Experts said that it is very difficult for FMCG companies to assess the exact impact of the lower tax given that they have multiple similar products in one category.
Moreover, they sell products for as low as Rs 2 for a shampoo pouch and when the rate is lowered they are not in the position to exactly assess the impact on price. Even if the assessment is done and it is found that the price should be lower by 30 paise, transaction becomes difficult as currency of that amount is not available.
"Because of multiple products of similar kind it is difficult for FMCG companies to arrive at a particular price. There are very small units like toffee selling for Re 1. In this case it will be very difficult to arrive at net impact of rate cut," said Amit Bhagat, Partner, Dhruva Advisors.
Besides FMCG, many restaurants are also facing complaints with 14 cases being lodged. Two complaints were filed against sanitary ware firms. Media and entertainment firms have six complaints against them.
(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mumbai, Aug 6 (IANS) Headline inflation is expected to remain at elevated level in Q2FY21, but is likely to ease during the second half of the current fiscal aided by a favourable base effect, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Thursday.
The Governor said the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was of the view that supply chain disruptions on account of the COVID-19 pandemic persists, with implications for both food and non-food prices.
"A more favourable food inflation outlook may emerge as the bumper rabi harvest eases prices of cereals, especially if open market sales and public distribution offtake are expanded on the back of significantly higher procurement. Nonetheless, upside risks to food prices remain," Das said while delivering the decision of the MPC on monetary policy.
"The abatement of price pressure in key vegetables is delayed and remains contingent upon normalisation of supplies. Protein-based food items could also emerge as a pressure point."
Consequent to the high retail inflation, the MPC decided to retain the RBI's key short-term lending rates, but maintained its growth oriented accomodative stance.
Accordingly, the repo rate, or short-term lending rate for commercial banks, was retained at 4 per cent.
Like wise, the reverse repo rate stands unchanged at 3.35 per cent.
The MPC voted to maintain accommodative stance, thus opening up possibilities for more future rate cuts.
It was expected that the MPC might hold rates as recent data showed that retail inflation has been at an elevated level during June.
The retail or consumer price index (CPI) stood at 6.09 per cent in June.
The urban CPI stood at 5.91 per cent and rural at 6.20 per cent.
As per the data, retail inflation level has reached the upper limit of the medium-term CPI inflation target of 4 per cent.
The target is set within a band of +/- 2 per cent.
Besides, Das in his address pointed out that higher domestic taxes on petroleum products have resulted in elevated domestic pump prices and will impart broad-based cost push pressures going forward.
"Taking into consideration all these factors, the MPC expects headline inflation to remain elevated in Q2:2020-21, but likely to ease in H2:2020-21, aided by favourable base effects," Das said.
"Given the uncertainty surrounding the inflation outlook and extremely weak state of the economy in the midst of an unprecedented shock from the ongoing pandemic, the MPC decided to keep the policy rate on hold, while remaining watchful for a durable reduction in inflation to use available space to support the revival of the economy."