GST impact: Chandigarh tax officers wake up to a working Sunday
The employees were also kept functioning on Saturday as the phones at excise and taxation department kept ringing throughout the day.punjab Updated: Jul 02, 2017 14:25 IST
The arrival of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has forced Chandigarh excise and taxation employees to put in extra working hours even on a Sunday.
Almost seven to eight employees of the department starting from clerks to taxation officers are on duty today to answer questions and solve queries related to the new tax regime.
The employees were also kept functioning on Saturday as the phones at excise and taxation department kept ringing throughout the day. The department had cancelled Saturday and Sunday offs for the employees and the manpower at the help desk was increased from two to four people.
Pressing a button at the stroke of midnight on Friday, President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India’s biggest tax reform from the historic central hall of Parliament, cheered on by some of the country’s top names in politics, business and law.
“Within one hour we have got 15 calls, mostly from Chandigarh and Mohali. Apart from this, 4-5 have visited us as well, so far,” said Devinder Singh, an employee at the GST help desk.
He added that officials are helping people in queries relating to billing format and assisting them with uploading digital signatures online.
Vishnu Kumar, Inspector, excise and taxation department said: “Most of the traders are writing SGST (State GST) instead of UTGST. So, we are advising Chandigarh traders to write UTGST.”
Usually, the helpline is open from 9 am-5 pm but during this weekend it will remain open from 10 am to 5 pm.
Interestingly, the Chandigarh helpline is also getting calls from other states and cities such as Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Mumbai.
The UT administration has organised a rath yatra daily for the past week to spread awareness on GST. Within this initiative, a team of two conducts seminars at two places every day.
“We educate traders about the new tax regime and answer their queries. It was started last Friday and will continue till July 20. However, if needed we may extend it further,” said an excise officer.
Chandigarh was one of the first cities in the country to achieve 100% migration to the GST system.
“Chandigarh has recorded one of the highest migrations. We started in December and by April, 98% traders registered under the new system,” said an official, adding that 15,000 traders registered under GST received their provisional IDs and passwords for logging onto the GST portal.
Deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi said, “In the coming days, our main focus will be to answer any GST-related query. We will conduct more seminars and the help desk will also be there to guide people.”
‘OFFICERS SHOULD GEAR UP’
“The visibility of GST is more than required. All of us have heard about GST, but we may not know its nitty-gritty. There is fear, misconception and confusion related to the tax reform. This is not only limited to traders, but officers too,” said Anil Kumar Gupta, a master trainer for GST
Also the additional director general of National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (Nacin), Gupta was addressing the officers of Chandigarh GST zone. He added, “Changes will happen every day; the council made one on Friday. We will be flooded with more in the next three months. So, officers have to keep abreast of all changes so as to help others.”