Vanaja N. Sarna
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF FINANCE/ DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
CENTRAL BOARD OF EXCISE & CUSTOMS
12th June, 2017
Dear Chief Commissioners & Directors General
The countdown to GST has begun. The statutory provisions are in place. As of today, 25 States have passed the SGST Acts, and others will follow soon. This puts us on track for the roll out of the new regime on 1st July, 2017. The Board had an opportunity to brief the Honorable Prime Minister on the state of preparedness for the roll out. Hon’ble Prime Minister has desired that CBEC should put in place a comprehensive communication and media strategy ahead of the roll out to ensure seamless and smooth transition into the new tax regime.
2. In this context, I have to draw your attention to my weekly newsletters wherein I have continuously been urging all officers to ensure that all preparatory steps be taken to ensure a successful roll out of GST. I would like to once again touch upon certain critical areas that require your constant attention and close monitoring.
i) Training & Outreach Programmes: NACEN, in coordination with the field formations 85 State Governments has been actively engaged in conducting outreach programmes. I urge all of you to increase the outreach programmes at the local level, so that the positive impact of GST reaches all citizens across the country. The GST Awareness Campaign has been active in most States and the dashboard is also being populated by the activities being conducted by various formations. GST Manthan is being organized in all cities, and there has been encouraging response form the trade and industry. The Revenue Secretary has also been attending the GST Manthan being organized by the zones. As the roll out date nears, our efforts to go the last mile assumes great importance. DG, NACEN had requested all zones/ states to complete the GST refresher training plan to conduct refresher training on GST based on the model refresher training module on GST to retrain our officers by mid-June. This was aimed at improving the domain knowledge and updating information on GST of officers and staff through active participation of all in each zone through in-house refresher modules by self-preparation and presentation. It may also be ensured that all officers, including those posted in the Directorates arc nominated for training being held at the local level. In addition, all officials were required to be trained on the GST common portal of GSTN. I hope by now the gap between the number of officers trained and yet to be trained has shrunk. I hope that continued efforts are being undertaken, in coordination with the state government officials with regard to training and outreach programmes, both in GST and GSTN
ii) Migration of taxpayers: So far, 82.74% of our assessees/ taxpayers have migrated to GSTN. As you arc aware, the window for migration has reopened. I urge all the Chief Commissioners to ensure and assist the remaining taxpayers in their migration to the new regime.
iii) IT Systems: DG(Systems) and his team have worked hard to ensure that the hardware is in place before the GST roll I hope you all have closely monitored the procurement and placement of such hardware in all your formations, in order to be IT ready for GST.
iv) HR Readiness: The Board has already posted Commissioners to all the new CGST formations. The Board has also taken action to post other officers in the grade of JC/AC to all COST formations and to these new units of GSTI, NACIN, DOTS etc. You may ensure that Superintendents and Inspectors and officers of other grades arc posted well in time to these formations, for a smooth transition to GST.
v) Taxpayer Services: GST MIGRATION SEVA KENDRA in your office must be working in full swing in assisting the taxpayers towards their migration to GST. As advised earlier, I recommend that these centers be converted into full-fledged GST SEVA KENDRAs to provide the entire gamut of taxpayer services such as trade awareness, education and hand holding. Several taxpayers, especially from the small and medium sectors would require hand holding in all GST related areas, which can be done by GSKs to be operational at the Division and Range level too. GSK should be a one stop solution for tax payers seeking advice/ information on GST, including assistance in real time registration, payment, etc.
vi) Media & Publicity: Media & Publicity has played and will continue to play a critical role for a seamless transition to In this context, DGTS has been actively bringing out a number of advertisements in print and electronic media. GST tutorials arc available on YouTube to educate the citizens on all aspects of GST. The Board had also advised all the Chief Commissioners to create Media cells and nominate a Nodal officer. The Board has also intimated to you, the nodal officers in the GST policy wing who would respond to any queries relating to GST law and procedures which cannot be solved locally. Many of you have already created these cells and nominated Assistant/ Deputy Commissioners to head these cells. One of the important responsibilities of this cell would be to address and respond to any incorrect and inaccurate reporting on GST and its impact in print/ electronic or social media. Hence, it would be appropriate that one Commissioner in your zone is nominated to interact with local media and respond to any such articles. it may be ensured that a record is maintained in respect of all such queries that have been responded to by this Media cell. You are also aware that CBEC has launched twitter handle @askGST. GOI, being operated by a team of officers who respond/ clarify all queries on GST. Similarly, all questions relating to thc GSTN portal can be addressed to @askGSTech. Both the twitter handles have been successful. Further, the helpline call center to handle all issues relating to GST will be sealed up, in anticipation of the large number of calls that will be received after GST roll out. Short and informative dissemination modules arc being proposed to be telecast on Doordarshan, AIR etc., so that the information reaches the last trader.
3. I would also urge you to be proactive in spreading the message of the benefits of GST for trade and consumers, as well as rates for all items of daily consumer use through local media.
4. As we move closer the D Day, we should aim to have a media blitzkrieg to address all concerns of the citizens, counter any negative publicity and all in all ensure a smooth transition to the game changing Indirect tax reform viz., GST.
With warm wishes,
(VANAJA N. SARNA)
All Chief Commissioners/Directors General