The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill will be tabled in the State Assembly session today, paving the way for its rollout on July 1. In the previous meeting of the GST council held on June 11, state Finance Minister D. Jayakumar re-iterated that the council must look into the rates of the entertainment sector, adding that the high rates can be detrimental to the respective sectors. Additionally, Jayakumar also threw light upon the fireworks sector in the state, stating that the current 28 percent levied under the new tax regime may harm the sector’s growth prospect.
While addressing the 16th meeting of the GST Council, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced maintaining of 28 percent tax on all cinema tickets above Rs. 100, while of those below Rs. 100 to be reduced to 18 percent. While fixing the GST on cashew nuts, the minister said that the rates have been reduced from 12 percent to five percent. The Council, which has till now fixed rates of more than 1200 goods and 500 services, is likely to discuss the GST rate for the telecom sector, which has been fixed at 18 percent.
The telecom industry has demanded a lower rate, arguing that an 18 percent GST rate, higher than the current 15 percent service tax for sector, will adversely affect the industry. Earlier, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) wrote to the Finance Ministry to emphasise the prevailing ‘poor financial health’ of the industry on the back of heavy debt burden and price wars.
The 17th meeting of the GST Council will be held on June 18 at New Delhi. So far, the GST Bill has been unanimously passed in majority of the state Assemblies, including Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. Hailed as a ‘revolutionary’ tax regime, the GST is said to be India’s biggest tax overhaul since independence in 1947. It will replace a slew of federal and state levies, transforming Asia’s third largest economy into a single market.