Members of Assam Pharmaceutical Association in Guwahati on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, July 15: The Assam Pharmaceutical Association today urged Dispur to review the provision of permits to ensure quick supply of medicines and avoid shortage.#
According to the association, the guidelines for issuing permits, announced by an order of the commissioner of taxes in Assam dated July 7, are creating problems in supply of medicines within and outside the state after imposition of goods and services (GST) tax.
The guidelines stipulate that vehicles carrying consignments must possess GST inward permit for import and transportation of taxable goods into the state, GST outward permit for inter-state supply, GST permit for intra-state supply and transit passes for transportation of taxable goods.
The order was modified on July 11 to exclude GST permit for intra-state supply from the list. But the website www.tax.assam.govt.in is carrying an announcement that the issue of permits has been "kept in abeyance due to technical reasons".
This is causing problems for medicine dealers to transport medicines within and outside the state.
Speaking at a news conference, the association's president, Prafulla Sarmah, said, "We support the rollout of GST as it is expected to simplify taxation. We do not have to go to the tax office for paperwork,#leading to fewer hassles, but the transition should be smooth and trade-friendly. We are facing enormous problems due to non-issuance of permits. Transportation of consignments of medicine has been affected and this may lead to shortage of some medicines in different places both within the state and in the region as Guwahati is the dispatch centre of the Northeast."
The association is also miffed with the turnover-related permit limit system.
At present, a firm with an annual turnover of more than Rs 10 crore will be allowed 300 permits at a time while a firm with a lesser turnover will get only 10 permits. One permit is required for one consignment sent to a single party.
The association has urged the government to make the system simple by minimising paperwork, thus reducing time in dispatching stock.
It has also asked for more permits for dealers with turnover of less than Rs 10 crore and demanded resolution of software issues.