Amid pressure on tax collection, the all-powerful GST Council meeting is likely to be held on June 14, the first such meeting after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. Tax collection has been hit due to lockdown imposed since March 25 to contain the spread of coronavirus The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is headed by the Union Finance Minister and comprises representatives of all states and Union Territories (UTs).
According to sources, the Council meeting planned for June 14 will be held through video conference. It is to be noted that the 39th meeting of GST Council held in March did discuss the impact of coronavirus on the economy, the sources said, adding the cases in India were very low and the lockdown was not imposed. Meanwhile, the finance ministry is not in favour of increasing goods and services tax (GST) rates on non-essential items in the next meeting of the Council, despite depressed revenue collections due to the nationwide lockdown. If goods and services tax (GST) rates are increased on non-essential items, the sources said, it will further bring down their demand and impede the overall economic recovery.
Post the lockdown, the demand has to be induced and economic activity has to improve on all fronts, not just on essential items, they said. However, the decision will be taken by the 40th GST Council meeting, according to the sources. In the present economic scenario in COVID-19, they said any purported proposal of introducing a calamity cess would be nothing less than adversity itself. The sources said any such proposal would prove to be “counter-productive” as the sales figures are already low due to slump in demand and introducing a cess, which would lead to a further increase in prices, could hamper the sales even further.