GST Council meeting on February 18: Here’s what to expect
The Goods and Services Tax Council will hold its 49th meeting on February 18 and is likely to discuss the reduction of rates on a slew of commodities, as per various media reports. The meeting will be chaired by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
When it comes to the agenda of the GST Council meeting, reports say that a reduction of the GST rate on millet-based health products is on the cards. These are the products that contain at least 70% millet. The United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets and hence, a cut in GST on millet and millet-based products is likely.
Moreover, the council may also discuss the setting up of GST Appellate Tribunals. The agenda may also include a mechanism to curb tax evasion on products like pan masala and gutkha. The GST on certain stationary products like pencil sharpeners may also be reduced to 12% from 18%, as per media reports.
Things that may not be on the agenda
There are expectations for the GST on cement to be reduced from 28% and a compensation cess to be levied on multi-utility vehicles (MUVs). However, these revisions are not likely to be discussed in the current GST Council meeting.
Another industry of interest is the casino, horse racing and online gaming industry. In a previous meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM), a consensus was not reached on the GST and valuation mechanisms in this industry. The matters related to this are likely to not be discussed in the upcoming GST meeting.
Changes made in the previous GST meeting
The 48th GST Council meeting took place on December 17, 2022.
Pulses husk and knives were exempted from GST from a previous rate of 5%. In order to provide a boost to ethanol blending, the GST on ethyl alcohol was reduced to nil from the previous rate of 18%. Apart from these changes, the GST Council also decided to decriminalize three types of offences. Tampering with material evidence was one such act which was decriminalized.
The GST Council meeting will be closely watched by many. It is expected that in the second half of the Budget Session, amendments to the CGST Act will be made by the Centre. These amendments will help provide a principal bench for all the benches.
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