The GST Council will consider a proposal to slash the tax on cement to 18 per cent from 28 per cent at its meeting next week along with a ministerial panel report that proposes a cut in rates in under-construction properties, including affordable homes. A rate cut in cement to 18 per cent will lead to a loss of Rs 13,000 crore annually to the government. The Narendra Modi-government is keen to ensure the GST cut actually benefits the end users in terms of lower prices as the Lok Sabha elections loom. Officials said the GST cut in cement and the panel report were on the agenda of the GST Council meeting on February 20.
The Cement Manufacturers Association had been pitching for a cut in the GST to 18 per cent as it would boost infrastructure spending and create jobs, while reducing the costs of buying a house. While cutting the rates, the council could come out with some guidelines to ensure the manufacturers pass on the benefits of the rate cut to consumers, officials said. Union minister Arun Jaitley had in a Facebook post said lowering the tax rate on cement was a priority. Cement is the only commodity used by the common man that is taxed at the highest slab.