GST Council to meet in Goa on September 20; no proposal to lower rates

Shishir Sinha New Delhi | Updated on August 27, 2019 Published on August 27, 2019

Focus will be on improving revenue mop-up, says official

The Goods & Services Tax (GST) Council will hold its 37th meeting on September 20 in Goa, but is unlikely to consider any rate reduction.

A senior Finance Ministry official told BusinessLine: “Many sectors are clamouring for a rate reduction. They range from automobile to cement to biscuit. Now, if it is done for one sector, it can open floodgates. We should not forget the revenue situation.” The automobile sector has requested the government to lower the duty for a brief period while biscuit companies are pressing for reducing GST from 18 per cent as consumers are thinking twice before buying even a ₹5 packet.

When asked about the demand for lowering the GST on biscuits, during her press conference last week, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said if State Finance Ministers have sensed that branded companies are shutting down because of GST, she would like to hear from them. “After all, the GST Council is not just the Union government. I would want many of the GST related issues discussed as issues that affect the States too and GST related decisions are not unilaterally taken by the Central government. So, I like to hear States Ministers much before all of us together take a call on it,” she had said.

The official said ‘as of now’ there is no proposal for lowering rate on any of the item. The Finance Ministry is having a tough time on the revenue front. The average revenue collection during the current fiscal is over ₹1 lakh crore. Certainly, this is sufficient to meet the scaled down target of GST collection as projected in the Budget.

The Finance Minister scaled down the GST collection target to ₹6.63 lakh crore, from ₹7.61 lakh crore. Accordingly, combined with State GST (SGST), the average monthly collection is now estimated at nearly ₹1 lakh crore as against ₹1.14 lakh crore (based on the data of Interim Budget). However, scaling down the target does not mean that the government wants less revenue. It needs more funds to meet the rising expenditure and contain fiscal deficit.

Review return filings

The official said the rules prescribe the GST Council to meet at least once in three months and since the Goa government had offered to host the meeting, it was accepted. The meeting is expected to review return filings and phased introduction of new return forms. It is also likely to consider action against non-filers which include debarring them for issuance of e-way bill. So far, on an average 20 per cent assessees do not file return by due date which affects overall revenue collection.

The Council has met 36 times and no occasion has arisen so far that required voting to decide any matter. Till its 34th meeting, the GST Council has taken 1,064 decisions which include 219 decisions taken by the GST Implementation Council (GIC). As on May 14, as many as 1,006 decisions have been implemented and only 58 decisions of the GST Council (of which 39 were unique issues) are yet to be implemented. In other words, 94.5 per cent of the decisions of the GST Council have already been implemented, which is a significant achievement, given the complicated nature and wide area of subjects/issues involved and the fact that all decisions were taken unanimously.

Published on August 27, 2019

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!


Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.