Highlighting that around 800 GST officers don’t have any specific responsibility and power, Andhra Pradesh GST Officers’ and Employees’ Association has urged the government that only gazetted rank and powers would enable them to discharge their duties efficiently.
The GST officers, who were formerly known as Assistant Commercial Tax Officers (ACTOs), have been striving hard for gazetted rank, saying that without it, they are not able to verify the records and audit the details of shops and business establishments, leading to tax evasion.
Till the introduction of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) on July 1, 2017, ACTOs used to inspect the goods transported from one place to another. Their surprise inspections at railway stations, bus-stands and stock points used to act as a deterrent against tax evasions.
At present, the Assistant Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner rank officials have powers of inspection and audit. With the heavy load, they are unable to inspect the records of nearly 3,000 dealers in each district, association members pointed out.
A.P. GST Officers and Employees Association president Chowdary Purushottam Naidu and general secretary Allina Ramesh Kumar, Commercial Taxes NGOs Association of Vizianagaram Division president R.Venugopal recently met Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy in Amaravati and explained the difficulties being faced by the GST officers.
They informed him that the GST officers in other States were given gazetted rank and powers which helped the respective governments to generate additional revenue with the bringing many traders into the GST net. “The Chief Minister responded positively to our proposals and directed the CMO to look into the matter. We hope the government would issue orders at the earliest. There will not be any financial burden in the form of payment of extra salary to the GST officers. But, it helps the government generate additional revenue by bringing more dealers into the GST net,” said Mr.Purushottam Naidu, who is also the associate president of the A.P. NGOs Association.
Mr. Venugopal said that the government had already ensured gazetted rank to Deputy Tahsildars, Sub-Registrars, and Executive Officers of Panchayat Raj Department, Excise Inspectors, Grade-III Municipal Commissioners and Co-Operative Sub Registrars who joined the service along with them after clearing the Group-II examination.