Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will chair the 36th meeting of the GST Council through videoconferencing in Delhi tomorrow. This will be the first GST Council meeting after the Union Budget was placed before the parliament on July 5 and Sitharaman’s second one. Among other issues, the GST Council is expected to announce its decision on lowering tax rates for electric vehicles, solar power projects and rationalization of GST rates on the lottery.
After having announced several sops for the electric vehicle (EV) sector including income tax exemption and reduction in customs duties for certain components, the government is now expected to push for a GST rate cut on EVs from 12% to 5%. The issue of GST rate cut on EVs was earlier sent to a rate fitment committee, whose recommendations are likely to be placed before the council tomorrow. The Modi government wants to encourage domestic manufacturing of e-vehicles. FM Sitharaman had also said in her Budget speech that the government wants to develop India as a manufacturing hub for electric vehicles and want to encourage their purchase. GST rate for petrol and diesel cars and hybrid vehicles is already at the highest bracket of 28% plus cess. Industry body Ficci has said rationalization of GST rates for electric vehicles will provide a big boost to the sector.
The GST Council is also likely to look at the issue of taxation of lotteries. At present, there are two rates of GST on the lottery. A 12% GST is levied on lottery run by the state government and 28% GST is levied on lotteries authorized by the state government. The GST Council had earlier constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into various issues relating to GST on a lottery. In its last meeting, the council had sought a legal opinion from the Attorney General on the issue. The GST body is likely to consider the advice of the Attorney General and take a final decision on rationalizing GST rates on the lottery.
The last meeting of the GST Council was held on June 21 where the last date for filing of GST returns for FY 2017-18 was extended by two months to August 2019. It had also approved the use of Aadhaar by businesses to register with GST Network (GSTN) and the imposition of a penalty of up to 10% on entities not passing on benefits of GST rate cuts to consumers. In the meantime, several industry bodies have demanded that the GST Council should expand GST to all other sectors.