Sops rain at 22nd GST Council meeting

In its second meeting held here on Wednesday the Group of Ministers asked the GST-Network to brace for the rush of last-minute filers. Representational Image

Inaugurating a National Conclave on GST, organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of State for Finance, urged India Inc not to measure the execution of GST in its first phase of three months as it was a big tax reform and needed "minimum one year" for its flawless implementation.

The threshold for composition scheme in GST has been raised from Rs75 lakh to Rs1 crore for businesses to avail the scheme that allows them to pay 1-5 per cent tax without going through tedious formalities. The savoury snack lent itself to one salty joke after the other as Twitterati wondered why other snacks such as theplas and fafdas from the Prime Minister's home state were left out.

Welcoming the move, Ganesh Kumar Gupta, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said: "The government has also resolved the problem of merchant exporters by putting a duty of 0.1% on any supply from manufacturing to merchant".

A total of 72 lakh taxpayers have migrated from the old regime and 26 lakh new taxpayers have registered under the GST. So, to ease this burden, it was announced by the GST council that the limit of the composite scheme would be increased to Rs 1 crore from the existing Rs 75 crore.

Similarly, the tax rate on rotis and khakra was cut along with savouries and ayurvedic and homoeopathic medicines.

As per available information, from July 1 till date, the department has earned revenue of total Rs 491.79 crore through GST (inclusive of Value-Added Tax on petroleum), which is 22 percent less compared to the same period - July-September 201 - wherein an amount of Rs 628.27 crore on Value-Added Tax was deposited with the State exchequer.

Under the current GST structure, items are slotted under tax rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent. Presently, only composition scheme holders are allowed to file quarterly returns. He said, the council has formed a Group of state finance ministers to look into different issues.

But not all can opt for the scheme.

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Also, the taxpayer can only make intra-state supply (sell in the same state) and cannot undertake inter-state supply of goods. By next April, the government will kick start a new digital e-wallet system for every exporter.

There is good news for mid-day meal schemes as well.

Food packets given to school kids under ICDS will attract 5 per cent tax instead of 12 per cent.

Tax rate on diesel engine parts, pump parts, stones used for the objective of flooring (non-marble and granite), and stationery items has been fixed at 18%, down from 28%.

In a signal to textile traders in Gujarat, the tax rate on man-made yarn has been fixed at 12 per cent, down from 18 per cent.

There is good news on the services front too.

If GST on service is reduced to 10-percent, then scope of tax on service can be reduced from present 20 lakh per annum to five lakh per annum with those availing service worth more than five lakhs required to deposit GST directly to public-exchequer rather than routed through service-provider.

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