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Finance ministry warns tax officials of action against GST protest
October, 15th 2016

In the run-up to GST rollout, the finance ministry has warned tax officials of disciplinary action if they go ahead with planned protests, including taking mass casual leave, on the budget day.

The All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers is opposed to any assessee of excise and service tax being moved to states in the new GST regime and has given notice for protest that includes lunch hour dharnas and mass casual leave on the budget day.

The revenue department on October 10 issued an order asking officials not to go on any protest and cited service rules that bar such action.

"GST is a major tax reform. All decisions will be taken by the GST Council, keeping in mind the interest of all concerned - the tax payer and officers. Against this background, you are advised to refrain from proposed course of action," it said.

The order cited service rules that do not permit participation in demonstrations and strikes.

The service rules attached with the order stated that "disciplinary action should be taken against the prominent participants in the 'gherao' by striking officers, and absence from work on account of participation in such a protest should be treated as "unauthorised absence involving break in service".

"The absence should not be regularised as leave of any kind," the service rules said.

Rule 7 cited in the order states that no government service shall "engage himself or participate in any demonstration which is prejudicial to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state..."

The association plans to hold lunch hour dharnas on November 9, wearing black badge in office on December 7, day-long protest on January 5 and mass casual leave on budget day by all officers.

In its memorandum to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the association said 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 CGST on supply of goods) and service tax (to be levied CGST on supply of services) should be transfered to states for the purpose of levy and collection of CGST 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 SGST on intra-state supply of goods and services," the body proposed.

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