Editorial: GST unpreparedness

Now that the cat is out of the bag, the hulla bulla over the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), should have been over by now. The government should have focused on getting the GST implemented and paved wave for its amalgamation into the system that as of now seems totally unaware of the change in the ground situation.

After the GST approval for the state, several Valley-based traders are complaining that many Multi-National Companies (MNCs) and wholesalers outside the state have stopped receiving any fresh orders for new stocks as these firms are still upgrading their systems for invoicing of goods.

Most Kashmir-based traders are faced with the harsh reality that fresh stocks will not be able to make their way into the markets here for the next one month as outside companies are still in a process to upgrade their systems in tune with the new tax regime.

What has come as a rude shock is that distributors intending to purchase new stocks have deferred their purchases which might impact the overall stock supply position in Kashmir in days to come.

Most MNCs including FMCG companies had earlier informed distributors that invoice of goods will not be possible for first two weeks of July as these companies were in a process to update to the current tax regime for GST billing.

However, its turning out that the manufacturers and C&F agents have raised their hands and are telling the wholesalers and distributors that supply of goods will not be a reality till the fourt week of August 2017. 

All this is happening when trade, social gatherings, marriage ceremonies and other activities in the state are at its peak.

Traders say that peak business season of weddings is approaching in August and September. Traders complain that they needed a constant import of goods from outside but stocks are not available at present which has created a financial crunch in market. There is even possibility of a shortage of goods in coming days as traders in Ambala, Amristsar, Delhi, Haryana and Shimla have not been accepting orders.

Worse enough, even the drugs and pharmaceutical trade is taking a hit. many distributors have been complaining shortage of even life saving drugs as no fresh orders are being placed by the distributors or even accepted by the C&F agents.

The Chemist association has also decided to stop placing fresh orders as the confusion over GST is such deep rooted that nobody is interested to take a risk and plunge into making fresh purscases.

The situation has lead to a dwindling availability of various vaccines, insulin and anti-rabbies medications. The consumers and the retailers are also complaining of shortage of baby foods, which if continues like this will create a crisis like situation here.

Apart from the daily use items, electronic gadgetry too has taken a hit. From mobile phones to medical equipments, the market players are taking no risks as the new tax regime has proposed a different tax rate for all these items.

In short the situation seems chaotic in the state and what is worrying is the state government is still busy celebrating its victory over getting the new tax regime applicable in the state. No effort is being ensured so that the problems faced while shifting to a new tax regime are addressed.






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