Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the GST Council has decided to double the GST exemption limit to Rs 20 lakh for north eastern states and Rs 40 lakh for the rest of the country providing relief to small businesses. The turnover limit for businesses availing composition scheme has also been increased to Rs 1.5 crore from Rs 1 crore at present starting April 1, 2019. The GST Council has also approved the annual return and quarterly tax payment under the composition scheme, he added. Besides this, those providing services and both Goods and Services with turnover up to Rs 50 lakh will be entitled to avail composition scheme, Finance Minister said after conclusion of 32nd GST Council meeting held earlier today. The GST exemption threshold has also been hiked from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh and the rate for services under composition scheme has now been fixed at 6 percent which is lower than service tax and GST paid previously. The council has also allowed Kerala to levy 1 per cent calamity cess on intra-state sales for a period of up to two years. The economy is now seeing improvced response to GST compositioon scheme, Arun Jaitley\u00a0 said.\u00a0 He also said that the council will consider further reduction in rates only when revenues move up. Also read: Bandhan Bank Q3 results: Private lender\u2019s profit rises 10%, asset quality worsens; key highlights In its last meeting, the GST Council had cut tax rates on seven items previously placed in the highest tax slab. Rationalising the 28 per cent tax slab, the council had pruned the GST rates on six items to 18 per cent slab and one item to five per cent slab. In total, the panel had reduced rates on 23 goods and services. After its last meeting in December, the Council had expressed concern over the lack of smaller service providers not opting for GST registration, which was attributed to relatively higher tax rate of 18% and cumbersome compliance.