Saturday, August 12, 2017

Govt levies GST on online RTI fee, draws flak from activists

Times of India: Aurangabad: Saturday, August 12, 2017.
The Centre and the state government are not on the same page as far as the levy of goods and services tax (GST) for online submission of queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act is concerned.
While the Centre has spared online applicants of GST on the Rs 10 fee, the state government has applied both the central and state GST in the 5% slab. Those applying under the RTI Act on the state's portal,, have to pay 90 paise over the Rs 10 fee.
This correspondent filed an online RTI application on the state government portal and was charged 45 paise each for state and central GST on the Rs 10 fee, apart from Rs 5 as portal fee.
RTI expert Vijay Kumbhar said, "Even if the amount of 90 paise per application looks meagre, the total amount generated by levying both CGST and SGST is huge considering the heavy inflow of applications through the online portal in Maharashtra."
Vivek Velankar, another RTI resource person, said the disparity in the levy at the Centre and the state indicates how confused the government machinery is about the implementation.
Admitting the disparity in the GST levy, state general administration department undersecretary Vishwambhari Khade said efforts would be made to make tax-free the online filing of RTI applications through the state portal.
"The Centre is learnt to have waived off GST on online filing of RTI by channelizing talks through the RBI. The central RTI portal has roped in a nationalised bank for the online payment gateway. We will speak with the concerned central and state agencies to offer relief to RTI applicants," she said. Surendra Kumar Mankoskar, additional commissioner, central GST, Pune zone, said, "There is no GST on any statutory payment, be it for RTI or payment of fees for getting a licence."