The CBEC is responsible for the roll out of the GST. The North Block mandarins are shouting from the rooftops that everything is in place & the users should not worry but the users have enough experience of the Indian bureaucracy & they are a worried lot. There is a war room created in the MoF to handle the issue & the war room is full of experts but then what about the real good solutions. The case in point is that of exports as on date. The merchant exporter & the manufacturer have the facility to export under bond but then there is a procedure, which requires them to obtain CT-1 for the removal of the goods from the bond acceptance authority before the removal of the goods. However, effective 21.6.17, the CT-1, which is a legitimate right of both the merchant as well as the manufacturer exporter, has been stopped. The moot point is that the C. Ex. Act & attendant Rules & regulations are in full force till the midnight of 30.6.17 therefore how the C. Ex. offices stop the legitimate entitlements of obtaining the CT-1 & effecting exports without paying the applicable duties. Can the closure of the day to day facilities to the exporters be termed as preparation on the part of the MoF. They knew it all along therefore it was in the fitness of things to simply issue a circular & ask the exporters to plan their exports & obtain the CT-1 in advance in respect of the anticipated exports up to 30.6.17. Alternatively, exports being a priority, the skeleton staff in every field formation was needed to be kept in attendance to serve the needs of the exporters so that the exports under CT-1/Bond could have continued in an uninterrupted manner. It is pertinent to point out that the issuance of CT-1 is simply a ‘hafta’ collection exercise & nothing else because the exporter’s person goes with the CT-1 application, locate the bond register, complete the entries in the bond register & affixes the seal on the CT-1 to be used & puts up the documents for signature of the relevant official. It is very difficult to comprehend that how the stoppage of facility can be termed as preparation where the whole nation is put to a loss? If this is preparation on the part of the GoI then what is going to happen when the GST is rolled out is not difficult to comprehend from this trailer. In 1995, they came out with a provision in the law for acceptance of electronic declaration but then that was never implemented despite the ACES came into functioning. The reason being simple that they never wanted to curb collections through this route at the local level. This was a sure shot cash cow because of the urgency related with exports. Further, there was opportunity created in acceptance of the Proof of exports & annual renewal of the bonds & closure thereof. Any person with little intelligence will understand that the MoF cannot stop the issuance of the CT-1 to the exporters up to 30.6.2017 but then who is prepared to listen & take care of it.
This is not the end of the story, as of this point of time, the scenario gets murkier come 1st of July, 2017 when the GST is implemented. The users do not know the authority to be approached & do not have the format of the bond. All the exporters will need to use the bond initially because they will be devoid of GST credit on the very first day as such for the removal of the goods & when exports can be cleared under bond by the manufacturer without the payment of duty, why the manufacturer should not utilize the bond. The merchant exporter (ME) is killed because the bond & the CT-1 facility does not exist anymore i.e. the merchant exporter will have to pay the IGST & then wait for the refund. It is difficult to understand that why this is done & the ME is deprived of the bond when there is a manufacturer held responsible for the payment of GST in case of the exports. Can the merchant exporter then survive with this kind of disadvantage & why this discrimination be allowed in the system? The next big question is that there is a complete change in the law therefore a new Bond format under the GST has to be devised & circulated for the manufacturer exporters to use. As of now, the bond format is not to be seen? Under these circumstances, how can the exporter prepare for the life under the GST regime for conducting exports? Once again, can this be termed as preparation to implement GST in a smooth manner, which really facilitates & provides confidence to the users? The answer is emphatic no & there is absolutely no semblance of any facilitation visible. This problem is brought to the urgent attention of all concerned in the MoF as well as the MoC & this article is also sent for immediate action at this point of time. Let’s see what the war room does? If I get a reply, I will keep you posted.
The moot point is that it is the bounden duty of the policy makers to make all the laws available for the users in a transparent manner well in time for them to take an informed call. In relation to exporters, it does not mean the GST alone but the Foreign Trade Policy as well as the Duty drawback schedule but nothing is in sight. If the GOI is not prepared then how do they expect the exporter to be prepared? The ground reality is pathetic as far as exports are concerned despite the fact that the exporters are a priority for any nation in the world & more so for India as it has a telling impact on the growth of the country. However, we fail to recognize this even!
(Author can be reached at email@example.com)