GST Council meeting convened in panic by PM Modi, FM Jaitley: Congress

The Congress on Friday said that it was the original author of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and asserted that today's council meeting was convened in panic by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

"This meeting has been convened in panic by the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and the Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) after having inflicted much pain on the Indian economy on the small retailer, entrepreneur, and the unorganised sector. We had helped in the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill, because we are the original authors of the GST, but not this flout GST. We had warned the government about the fall out and urged them to delay the implementation of GST," Congress leader Anand Sharma told ANI.

Sharma further said that the Congress had warned the Central Government against the historical implementation of the GST and had also asked them to not create this complication.

The GST Council today raised the composition scheme threshold for businesses to Rs. 1 crore, which will allow them to pay a tax of 1 per cent to 5 per cent, without having to deal with a three-stage filing process.

The decision was taken during the 22nd GST Council meeting, which was chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.

The impact of the GST on trade, and its transition issues were discussed in the meeting held earlier today.

The panel decided to give an option to taxpayers to avail the composition scheme if their turnover is less than Rs. 1 crore as against the previous limit of Rs. 75 lakh.

Under the composition scheme, the tax rate for traders of goods will be 1 per cent, 2 per cent for manufacturers and 5 per cent for restaurants and suppliers of food or drinks.

The GST Council also announced tax relief for exporters.

"The tax refunds to exports will start from October 10. There will be a nominal 0.1 per cent GST applicable on exports," the finance minister announced, in a media briefing here, on Friday.

The small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with an annual turnover of Rs. 1.5 crore will be allowed to file quarterly returns.

"Small businesses will also have to file monthly returns for three months - July, August and September - and the switchover to quarterly filing will happen from the cycle starting October 1," Jaitley added.

"Every exporter will now get an e-wallet. In the e-wallet, there would be a notional amount for credit. The refund they will eventually get will be offset from that amount. The e-wallet will be introduced from April next year," Jaitley added.

He further said that the reverse charge mechanism for transactions between registered, unregistered business has been deferred till March 31, 2018.

The Finance Minister added that the pattern of collection [of the GST] is not clear after two months, because it was a period of transition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, earlier on Wednesday, had also assured that the glitches would be fixed, in an hour-long speech on the Indian Economy.

Meanwhile, the GST on few other items was reduced.

Jaitley said the GST on khakra and unbranded namkeen has been reduced from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. The tax on zari work, unbranded ayurveda medicine has been reduced from 12 to 5 per cent.

The GST rate on some stationery items, diesel engine parts has also been reduced to 18 per cent from the earlier 28 per cent.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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