25th GST Council Meet: Pre-Budget GST Rate Cut on 49 Items

FM Arun Jaitley to hold 25th GST Council meeting with his state counterparts today

The BJP today hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the reduction in GST rates on a number of products, and said the new tax regime has emerged as people-friendly in a short span of time. The lower taxes being generated by the GST had also prompted the government to roll out the e-way bill, which experimented as a pilot in Karnataka, nationally effective February 1 for inter-state movement of goods and in a phased manner for intra-state goods movement.

The 25th GST council meeting held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi has been ended.

Businesses have raised concerns about high rates of taxation and cumbersome processes in GST, billed as India's biggest tax reform in 70 years.

In order to plug the leak in the GST revenues that have been declining since its launch in July past year, it approved the implementation of the e-way bill for inter-state trade from February 1. "The composition scheme has not seen an enthusiatic response and there could be cases of under declaration in compensation scheme", Jaitley said, indicating that stricter monitoring will be done hence forth of the scheme applicants.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Jaitley said the next meeting of the Council may consider bringing items like crude oil, natural gas, petrol, diesel, ATF and real estate within the GST purview.

A report on items falling under the definition of handicrafts has also been accepted by the Council.

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Jaitley met with finance ministers and deputy ministers of states and union territories here today. It said buyers should upload purchase invoices, and sellers should upload sale invoices.

On the demand for industry status for retail sector, Rajagopalan said, "Such a step would provide the sector with support in accessing the financial system and hence allow for more investment in the sector and also allow the critical sector to be eligible for all support and incentives as applicable to other industries".

Another important measure is with respect to Form 3B, which will continue but has been simplified.

The Council had in its previous meeting in November reduced the tax rate on over 200 items.

"In the reviewed (GST) collection, the large amount of collection lying in the IGST was one of the factors which were considered". He said that another video conference council meet will take 10 days from now on simplification of GST filing and e-way bill. "Trade in transport needs to comply with restrictions of E-Way bills", Jaitley said adding that the government views Eway bills as a major deterrent for black money. The Council gave its in-principle approval for about 40-50 "minor" legal changes in the GST-related laws that would be finalised and circulated among the Council members before the next meeting, which will be held via videoconferencing, officials said.

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