GST on over 200 items may be reduced today

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Karnataka agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda said eventually the 12% and 18% slabs should converge and that only a few items should remain in the 28% slab.

The Goods And Services Tax (GST) council will meet on Friday for its 23rd meeting in the national capital.

Many items which are in 28% category of GST are getting cheaper. The panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may also take decisions on rates, making compliance easier and giving more relief to small and medium businesses. The whole idea is, as your revenue collections neutralise we must prune it and that is the pattern in which the Council has so far been functioning. Jaitley had said that the goal is to tweak GST rates to achieve the ideal balance of taxes and ease and affordability for consumers. There have been demands for lowering tax on wooden furniture as it is mostly handmade by unorganised sector artisans, with the middle class as the primary consumers.

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"There is a need to look at bringing real estate sector within GST while balancing the needs of autonomy of states to levy stamp duty and property taxes and also keeping agricultural lands and old buildings outside the GST", said Badal. It had proposed a uniform tax rate of 12 per cent.

Noting with concern that GST returns had dropped in September to 46.4 per cent from 58 per cent in the preceding month in Bihar, Sushil Modi said "directions have been issued to conduct a survey and find out what are the problems that businessmen may be facing". At present, while manufacturers pay GST at 2 per cent, the rate for restaurants is 5 per cent. Traders now pay 1 per cent. As the state gears up for the GST Council meet here from Thursday, trade bodies in the northeast are looking forward to the two-day conclave with expectations.

The first three months of GST rollout have earned a total revenue of around Rs 2.78 lakh crore for the exchequer. Items likely to see slash in tax rates are those used in every households, including sanitary ware, suitcase, wall paper, plywood, stationery articles, watch, play instruments, among others, said Modi, who heads a five-member Group of Ministers (GoM) to monitor technology- related implementation issues of the GST.

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