New Delhi, June 9, 2017

Many States and industry associations seek review of rates of various items

Amidst hectic lobbying by India Inc for a cut in the proposed rate structure, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council may review the rates of some items at its next meeting on June 11.

“Main agenda items of the 16th GST Council meeting include confirmation of the minutes of the 15th GST Council meeting, approval of amendments to draft GST Rules and rate adjustment, if any, based on the representations received from different trade and industry and their associations,” said the Finance Ministry in a statement.

A number of States as well as industry associations have been calling for a review on the rates of various items where they feel that the proposed rate under GST would be higher than the existing rates. To take care of some such anomalies, the Council, in its last meeting, had also revised the rates of some items, such as solar panels and mixed edible oil, to 5 per cent and geometry boxes and erasers to 12 per cent.

In its meeting in Srinagar on May 18 and 19, the Council had fitted the rates of nearly 2,500 goods and services in the four-tier tax structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent.
Further discussion

The items that could see a further discussion include biscuits and footwear, the rates of which were decided by the GST Council on June 3.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh has pointed out that the tax rate on items such as biogas, fertilisers, tractors, hardware, granite slabs, construction equipment, restaurants, regional cinemas, real estate builders, agarbattis, human hair and cashew are higher than the existing rate of value added tax and central excise duty.

Similarly, the Delhi government said that it will take up the issue of a less complex tax structure and lower taxes under GST at the next meeting of the Council.

Other sectors such as the automobile industry and telecom are also seeking a review of rates.

Meanwhile, in what is being seen as the last lap of its deliberations before the rollout of GST from July 1, the Council chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will also finalise the tax rate on lottery and approve the draft rules for accounts and records, the proposed credit transfer document, and the e-way Bill.

It will also review the functioning of the new administrative machinery for GST and the preparedness of the GST Network to provide IT services.

Sectoral groups

In line with the decision of the GST Council, the Finance Ministry has also set up 18 sectoral groups to ensure a smooth transition into the new tax regime.

“These groups containing senior officers of the Centre and the States are being set-up to respond timely to the issues and problems of their respective sectors,” said the Finance Ministry. These pertain to sectors such as banking and insurance, textiles, exports, information technology, transport, and oil and gas.

[The Hindu Business Line]