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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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GST Council meet underway: Check what’s cheap and what’s not

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to preside over the 53rd Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting scheduled for later today, marking the first council session under the new NDA government after an eight-month hiatus since the 52nd meeting in October 2023. The meeting will be attended by all state finance ministers. The specific agenda for the meeting has not been disclosed yet, but it is expected to cover a range of issues concerning the GST framework, including tax rates, policy adjustments, and administrative challenges.

GST, implemented nationwide from July 1, 2017, has been pivotal in restructuring India’s indirect tax system. Earlier in the day, Sitharaman also chaired a pre-Union budget meeting with finance ministers from all states and Union territories.

Several key areas are likely to be deliberated upon during the GST Council meeting:

1. Fertilisers: In light of the Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilisers’ findings, discussions might centre on reducing the GST rates for fertilisers and the raw materials used to make them.

2. Online Gaming: Reviewing the current 28% GST rate applied to online gaming, particularly on the value of bets.

3. Telecom: Addressing issues related to GST payments by telecom companies, including spectrum charges.

4. Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA): Reviewing amendments to GST laws concerning the taxation of ENA, following the council’s decision to delegate this authority to states in the previous meeting.

5. Corporate Guarantees: Reassessing the GST levy on corporate guarantees, particularly in light of a stay issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a CBIC circular.

The GST Council, as the apex decision-making body on GST matters, plays a crucial role in refining the GST framework to ensure it meets the evolving needs of India’s economy and taxation system. The outcomes of these discussions are anticipated to have significant implications for businesses and consumers alike across the country.

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