New Delhi, August 4, 2017

The GST Council is likely to lower tax rate tomorrow on job works making fabric to garments to 5 per cent and put in place a mechanism for online registration of goods above a certain value before they can be transported.

The Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, will also review at its meeting the implementation of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime since July 1 and may finalise a mechanism to operationalise anti-profiteering provision to protect consumer interest.

Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairperson Vanaja Sarna said movement of goods between states has smoothened with 25 out of 29 states abolishing checkposts.

"About 25 states have removed those checkposts. So far, it has been going all right," she told PTI here.

This would further smoothen after e-way bill in GST that requires any goods more than Rs 50,000 in value to be pre- registered online before it can be moved is implemented.

"As the e-way bill process for the whole of India gets panned out, we should be able to do something which will be better," Sarna said.

She, however, declined to comment on whether the threshold in e-way bill will be retained at Rs 50,000 amid demands from various quarters to raise it.

Officials said rules for the e-way bill will be decided tomorrow. This GST provision requires any goods more than Rs 50,000 in value to be pre-registered online before it can be moved.

As per the draft provision, GSTN would generate e-way bills that will be valid for 1-20 days, depending on distance to be travelled -- one day for 100 km, 3 days (100 to less than 300 km), 5 days (300-less than 500 km) and 10 days (500- less than 1,000 km).

The information technology platform for the e-way bill system is being developed by the National Informatics Centre.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said it would be mandatory for manufacturers to pass on benefits of reduction in taxes post GST to consumers.

"What if input tax benefit is not transferred to consumers? ...we are meeting a few days from now... In a short while, we are going to finalise the entire mechanism as far as anti-profiteering is concerned," he had said in Parliament.

The Council is also likely to tomorrow consider lowering of tax rates for job works for making garments to 5 per cent from 18 per cent, an official said.
Currently, services by way of job works in relation to textile yarns -- other than man-made fibre/filament -- and textile fabrics attract 5 per cent GST. Other job works in relation to garments attract an 18 per cent levy.

The official said the Council may look at streamlining it and bring all job works, including for making garments from fabric, under the 5 per cent slab.

Apart from reviewing the rollout of the GST regime, the 19th meeting of the Council may tomorrow take a look at streamlining the anomalies raised by the industry over the past one month, said an official, who did not want to be named.

It will be the first full-fledged meeting of the GST Council, also comprising representatives of all the 29 states, after the rollout of the new indirect tax reform on July 1.

The Council had on July 17 discussed, via video conferencing, hiking cess on cigarettes as there was some anomaly in the rate fixed earlier.

After the July 1 rollout, the textile sector had protested, demanding rollback of 5 per cent GST on fabrics.

Jaitley, however, had ruled out cutting tax rates for the textiles sector, saying a zero per cent GST on fabrics will break the input tax credit chain for the domestic industry and make imported items cheaper.

As per the rates decided by the Council, in the textiles category, silk and jute fibre have been exempted, while cotton and natural fibre and all kinds of yarns will be levied a 5 per cent GST. Man-made fibre and yarn will, however, attract an 18 per cent tax rate.

All categories of fabric attract a 5 per cent rate. Man- made apparel up to Rs 1,000 will attract a 5 per cent tax and those above Rs 1,000 will attract 12 per cent.

[The Deccan Herald]