New Delhi, June 10, 2017

Before its 16th meeting on Sunday, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) council has constituted 18 sectoral groups comprising of one officer each from central and state governments to help in smooth transition and implementation of GST regime from July 1. 

These groups have been mandated to interact and examine representations received from stakeholders from respective industries. They are also entrusted with identifying implementation issues and resolving them timely. Additionally, these group will also prepare draft guidance notes for these sectors, the government said on Friday. The 18 groups broadly cover the economy and include sectors like banking and insurance, telecom, oil and gas, e-commerce, mining, textile and micro, small and medium enterprise among others. Separately, the Council meet on Sunday is expected to provide the final touches to GST rules and rates. It will fix the GST rate for lottery, the only item currently excluded from rate slab. The Council will deliberate the industry representations on rate revision for various commodities. For instance, the auto industry has said that hybrid vehicles shouldn’t be charged at 43% under GST as it defeats the purpose of incentivising cleaner modes of transportation.Currently hybrid vehicles are levied with a combined tax incidence of around 28%. Similarly, biscuit manufacturers have opposed a uniform rate of 18%, and have petitioned the Council for a graded tax rate based on product price. Additionally, the council will also consider approval for five sets of crucial rules that are still in the draft stage. So far, nine sets of rules have been finalised. Among the remaining rules, e-way draft rules

Additionally, the council will also consider approval for five sets of crucial rules that are still in the draft stage. So far, nine sets of rules have been finalised. Among the remaining rules, e-way draft rules has attracted controversy for being vague and difficult to implement in the current scenario with lack of proper infrastructure.

The e-way rule deals with the movement of goods through state borders. It lays down the process of obtaining permit for a vehicle carrying goods and information to be furnished before for the same. The extensive requirement of information technology for generating permits has been questioned by the stakegholders on the grounds of ease of implementation and potential increase in compliance burden.

[The Financial Express]