The GST Council, in its 25th meeting on Thursday, announced the rate cut on as many as 29 goods and 54 services, in addition to rate cut on 177 items announced in November. PTI quoting unidentified sources reported that it would result in a revenue loss of around Rs 1,000 crore. The GST collection of the government, which has fallen in the month of October and November, was also discussed in the meeting, and the Council is mulling measures to curb tax evasion.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the head of the GST Council, told reporters after the meeting that the government had been relying on unilateral declarations of individuals for the collection, however, some-anti evasion measures were now needed.
He also said that the businesses registered under the composition scheme may have been underreporting their income. “Collection in regard to them was a matter of concern. Out of 75 lakh registered businesses, at 1% tax rate, the collection in the first quarter was Rs 307 crore. This seems to be a case of under-declaration.”
He said that with the roll-out of the E-Way bill, the government would be able to curb tax evasion. Arun Jaitley also said the problem will be factored in when CGST, IGST, SGST acts are amended. “There are minor changes that are required. They will also be taken in the next meeting,” he said. The GST Council is expected to meet one more time in next 10 days, ahead of the Union Budget 2018. However, the date of the meeting is not known yet.
The GST Council, in its last meeting in December, approved an early-roll out of the E-Way Bill to check tax evasion. With this decision, the e-way bill for the inter-state movement got advanced to February 1 from April 1, while the trail began from January 16.
The meeting was held 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 177 items.