On May 01, 2018, I went to buy an electrical item from Bhagirath Palace (Delhi) which is the biggest wholesale market for electrical and other goods. The wholesale dealer monopolising in the item (maybe manufacturer himself) told the price as Rs 2700. In tune with the cashless economy, I asked to accept payment through credit card, which was refused by the dealer. Then I offered payment through cheque for which I offered the reference of two other renowned dealers or delivery goods only after my cheque would have been cashed. But the dealer was very much hesitant in the mode of payment other than cash. However ultimately after my great pursuance and self-introduction, he hesitantly accepted my cheque. But, I had to pay a sort of penalty of total Rs 486 in form of GST at the rate of 18 per cent which could be saved if I would have made payment in cash.
Two aspects emerge from the episode. Firstly, it is clear that wholesale traders are doing business mainly in unaccounted cash with no GST-invoice given. How can we fulfill the dream of the Prime Minister for a cashless economy in such a situation which is largely common in every trade! Central government should make it compulsory for all those registered under GST to get credit card machines installed at all their outlets.
Second is large-scale GST evasion through cash-sale with GST imposed like a sort of penalty for all those insisting on invoices. Central and Delhi government should take all possible steps to ensure that invoices may be compulsorily and voluntarily given by dealers without even being asked for. It may be considered as a non-bailable offence if someone is found selling items without an invoice.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)