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There will be no job losses, FinMin assures CBEC officers

New Delhi: Trying to dispel worries, the finance ministry has assured CBEC officers that there will be no reduction of manpower under the new GST regime and the HR policy will be drafted after taking their views on board.

CBEC Chairman Najib Shah
CBEC Chairman Najib Shah

In a meeting with the ministry last week, central excise officers flagged their concerns about use of technology and transfer of any assessee of excise and service tax to states under the new framework, leading to surplus manpower.

“We flagged our concerns regarding surplus manpower and HR policy in the new regime. The board has assured us that there will be no manpower reduction. Also they have asked us to send our comments on human resource, which will be looked into for framing of the policy,” Ravi Malik, Secretary General, All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers, told PTI.

The association had earlier planned to hold dharnas on October 14, but following the assurance from the board, it has decided to shelve the plan.

“We have demanded that the 11 lakh service tax assessees which are under the Centre should continue to remain with the Centre in the GST regime. The board has said the final decision will be taken in the next meeting of GST Council and we will decide on our future course of action after that,” Malik said.

The government plans to roll out the goods and services tax (GST) from April 1, 2017. GST will subsume excise, service taxes and other local levies.

The first meeting of the GST Council on September 22-23 had decided that the Centre would continue to assess 11 lakh service tax filers in the new dispensation, to begin with. Gradually, as states gain expertise, the new tax assessees will be shifted.

However, at the second meeting of the Council on September 30, some states disagreed with the arrangement. The next meeting of the Council on October 18-20 is like to take a call on the issue.

As per the initial plan, the association was also to hold lunch-hour dharnas on November 9, wear black badge in office on December 7, hold a day-long protest on January 5 and take mass casual leaves on the Budget day by all officers.

In its memorandum to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the association contended the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and its officers and employees have experience and expertise of more than 70 years in handling excise and service tax “which is missing with state officers”.

It wanted that “none of the assessees of central excise (to be levied as C-GST on supply of goods) and service tax (to be levied as C-GST on supply of services) should be transfered to states for the purpose of levy and collection of C-GST by the officers of states”.

“All central excise and service tax assessees falling above the annual turnover of Rs 20 lakh should necessarily be controlled by the Centre and its officers only. No need to say we require a strong and powerful Centre in our federal system,” it added.

It wants CBEC and its officers only to collect C-GST and I-GST. “State government officials should be allowed to collect only S-GST on intra-state supply of goods and services,” the body proposed.

In an October 10 order, the finance ministry has warned tax officials of disciplinary action if they go ahead with planned protests and cited service rules that bar such action.



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