Dates for next GST Council meet announced; here’s what could be on agenda

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The 30th Good and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting will be held on September 28 via video conferencing, in which the proposal to cut rates on some items could be taken up. The GST Council may cut tax rates on cement, air conditioner and large screen televisions. The GST Council had reduced tax rates on over 100 items in its July meeting including refrigerators, small screen colour television, washing machines while leaving air conditioners, large screen TVs in the highest bracket of 28%. The government has said that sooner or later only sin goods will be kept in the 28% GST bracket. However, further rate rationalisation decision will depend on revenue buoyancy.

It is also likely that Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac will bring to the table the idea of levying cess for funding relief measures after the Kerala floods. On August 23, Thomas Issac had said that he would approach the GST Council for a cess to finance the relief efforts. Moreover, the GST Council may also take up some of the issues discussed relating to the SMEs in the last meeting as well. The council had handed over the issues faced by the SME sector to a sub-committee, on the basis of which, the former will take decisions.

Experts are expecting the GST Council to address various issues being faced by the SMEs including the extension of some monetary sops and simplification of the procedure. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was on leave after his surgery, will chair the meeting first time after resuming office in August. The GST Council is comprised of the finance minister as the head and his state counterparts.

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