After lot of discussions on holding or postponing, GST Council is meeting on Saturday, February 18 itself. However, most discussed Group of Ministers’ (GoM) report on online gaming, casinos and horse racing will miss the date with the Council.

It will be in-person meeting and will be presided over by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

According to officials, agenda for the meeting has four key items – two GoM reports, rate revision on items such as millet products and sharpeners, and some facilitation measures. Two GoM reports are on related with setting up of GST Appellate Tribunal and taxation of pan masala and gutkha companies. Both of these reports have been submitted with consensus.

‘Report not yet ready’

“GoM report on online gaming, casinos and horse racing is not part of the agenda,” a senior Government official confirmed. When asked about the reasons, he said could be because of absence of some members who are expected to present the report. The GoM under the convenorship of Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma submitted its second report, without consensus, on December 15. Earlier, last year it gave its first report which was discussed in the June 2022 meeting of GST Council after which it was asked to rework recommendations.

This GoM has Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, Finance Minister of West Bengal, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Finance Minister of Gujarat, Kanubhai Desai, Transport Minister of Goa, Mauvin Godinho, Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu, P T Rajan, Finance Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Suresh Khanna, and Finance Minister of Telangana T Harish Rao as members. The GoM is agreed upon rate of 28 per cent for online gaming, casinos and horseracing, but could not arrive at a consensus of value at which GST to be calculated and left to the Council to decide on this matter.

The report of the GoM on Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunals (GSTATs) was set up in July last year under the chairmanship of Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala. The GoM has suggested that the tribunals should consist of two judicial members, and one technical member each from the Centre and states, besides a retired Supreme Court judge as president. Other GoM, , headed by Odisha finance minister Niranjan Pujari has given recommendations on checking tax evasion by pan masala and gutkha industry.

The Council will also take up proposal for GST rate on millet products. It is believed that proposal is to prescribe Nil rate in case it is sold loose, but 5 per cent in case of pre-packaged and pre labelled. One condition for such product should have at least 70 per cent of millets. At present, these products attract rate of 18 per cent. Another key item in terms of rate revision on sharpener to 12 per cent from 18 per cent.

Rate on sharpener came into limelight when in July last year, based on a GST Council recommendation, the Finance Ministry notified 18 per cent GST. Earlier it was 12 per cent. In January this year, businessline reported a ruling by AAR (Authority for Advance Ruling) which held that a pencil sold with sharpener will attract higher GST than a pencil sold alone since the sale of a pencil and sharpener together is ‘mixed supply’. Pencil attracts GST at 12 per cent.