GST rollout, launch in India: Just a couple of hours before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll out, the all-powerful GST Council tonight reduced the tax rate on fertiliser to 5 per cent from previously decided 12 per cent. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads the GST Council comprising representatives of states, said the decision to reduce the tax rate on fertiliser was taken because of apprehensions that price of the crop nutrient may go up. The GST Council, in another move to give relief to farmers, also cut tax rate on exclusive parts of tractors from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. “Some felt it (12 per cent GST rate) may be a burden on consumer. There was a consensus (in the GST Council) to bring rate to 5 per cent,” he told reporters after the 18th meeting of the Council. The Council meeting was called more as a thanks giving meet with no formal agenda. But it did take up the cause of farmers at the meeting. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a dinner for the GST Council members as a special thanks giving for the decisions the panel took since its formation in September last year.
Since its first meeting on September 23, 2016, the Council has met 18 times and decided on range of issues – from drafts of supporting legislations to GST rules, rates of taxes and fitting over 1200 goods and services in the four-tire structure of 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent. Jaitley said the Council meeting also approved additional set of rules. He did not elaborate on the issue. The GST, which unifies more than a dozen central and state levies like excise duty, service tax and VAT, will be implemented from midnight tonight.