In the 25th GST Council meeting on Thursday, tax rate cut on 49 items was recommended, including 0% on handicraft products. Uttarakhand Finance Minister Prakash Pant told reporters that tax rates on some agriculture products and some goods under the 12% and 18% were cut, while 29 handicraft products were brought under the 0% tax bracket. “The Fitment committee has approved relaxation on 29 handicrafts to 0%,” he said.
The E-way bill, which is scheduled to be rolled from February 1 was also discussed. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and constitutes of his state counterparts. The meeting comes against the backdrop of lower GST collections and higher than the Budgeted fiscal deficit. GST collections slipped for the second straight month to Rs 80,808 crore in November, down from over Rs 83,000 crore in the previous month. The collections fell after the Council cut rates on as many as 178 items.
The GST Council, which last time met on December 16, approved mandatory compliance of the e-Way Bill for the inter-state movement from February 1 to curb tax evasion, the trial run for which started on Monday.
In the 23rd GST Council meeting in November, a massive rejig took place, in which tax rates on over 200 items, ranging from chewing gum to chocolates, to beauty products, wigs and wrist watches, were cut to provide relief to consumers and businesses amid the economic slowdown. The top tax rate is restricted to luxury and demerit goods.
As many as 178 items of daily use were shifted from the top tax bracket of 28% to 18%, while a uniform 5% tax was prescribed for all restaurants, both air-conditioned and non-AC. Launched on July 1, the GST subsumed more than 12 different taxes including VAT, Excise Duty.