Global Economy

GST Council Meeting: Govt to roll out Pan-India biometric authentication, Railways services exempted from GST & other key decisions

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council at its 53rd meeting in New Delhi on Saturday decided to roll out Pan-India biometric authentication to check fake invoicing.

“This will help us to combat fraudulent input tax credit claims made through fake invoices in the cases,” she added.

Post-budget session, there will be another meeting.

“The time limit to avail input tax credit in respect of any invoice or debit note under section 16(4) of the CGST Act filed up to the 30-11-2021 for the financial years 17-18, 18-19, 19-20 and 20-21 may be deemed to be 2011 to 2021. So for the same requisite amendment retrospectively with effect from 1 July 2017, the council has made a recommendation”, said Union Finance Minister and the chair of the GST Council Nirmala Sitharaman at a press conference after the meeting.

This was the first meeting of the GST council after the formation of the new government.

Railway services exempted from GST

Services provided by Indian Railways like platform tickets, battery-operated car services etc have been exempted from GST, said the Finance Minister.

Linking of Aadhaar biometric authentication

To facilitate GST registration, Aadhaar biometric authentication is mandatory for new registrations across the country, as per the GST council.

Waiver of interest on penalties on tax demand notice

The council decided to wave off interest and penalties for demand notices issued under sector 73 of GST act.

12% GST rate on milk cans:

The council recommended to prescribe a uniform rate of 12 per cent on all milk cans meaning steel, iron, aluminum which are irrespective of the use. This will be the rate applicable. “They have a standard shape so that will determine what is a milk can and what is not. The council has also recommended to prescribe a uniform GST rate of 12 per cent on all carton boxes and cases. This will particularly help the apple growers of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

Hostel accommodation exempted:

The GST Council exempted services by way of hostel accommodation outside educational institutions to the tune of Rs 20,000/person per month.

12% GST on carton boxes:

The council also recommended prescribing a uniform GST rate of 12 per cent on all carton boxes and cases of both corrugated and non-corrugated paper or paper board, said Sithraman. “This will in particular help the apple growers of Himachal Pradesh, J&K,” she added.

12% GST on sprinklers:

The Council also clarified and recommended that the clarification be put out that all types of sprinklers including fire water sprinklers will attract 12% GST, said FM.

GST rates on fertilisers

The GST council referred a recommendation on exempting the fertiliser sector from the current 5 per cent GST to the Group of Ministers on rate rationalisation. The council discussed the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilisers in February to reduce GST on nutrients and raw materials in the interest of fertiliser manufacturing companies and farmers.

Currently, GST at a 5 per cent rate is charged on fertilisers, while raw materials like Sulphuric Acid and Ammonia face a higher GST at 18 per cent.

During its 45th and 47th meetings, which took place in September 2021 and June 2022, the GST Council discussed the possibility of further reducing the tax on fertilisers. However, the council did not suggest changing the rates.

What is the GST Council?

The GST Council is a constitutional body in India that oversees the implementation and regulation of the Goods and Services Tax.

Chaired by the Union Finance Minister and comprising state finance ministers, the Council makes recommendations on various GST-related matters, including tax rates, exemptions, thresholds, and administrative processes.

The primary aim is to ensure uniformity and efficiency in the GST system across the country.

The Council typically meets periodically, with meetings held as needed to address pressing issues, usually every few months, with the last meeting concluding on October 7, 2023.

What happened at the October 7 meet?

The 52nd Council had introduced several significant changes including an amnesty scheme for appeals against demand orders, clarification on taxability of personal and corporate guarantees, and mandatory Input Service Distributor registration under GST.

Other recommendations also included recognizing Special INR Vostro accounts for export services, GST exemptions for certain public services, and reducing GST on molasses from 28% to 5%.


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