GST Council lowers rates for 66 items

Mon 12 Jun 2017, 13:38:42
The Goods and Services Tax Council on Sunday lowered tax rates on 66 items, including several consumer items and school bags, even as the Centre gears up for a July 1 rollout. 

The council has also reduced the tax rate on cinema tickets costing Rs.100 and below. 

On the much-awaited revision of the GST rate on hybrid cars, it was decided that the council will take it up after considering states’ comments on a detailed paper issued on the matter earlier.It also did not revise tax rates for telecom services, which were spiked from 15% to 18% last month, leading to an expected increase in charges. 

The next meeting of the council will be held on June 18, when it will decide on rates for lottery tickets, among others.

“The GST Council has reduced tax rates of 66 items as against representations received for 133 items,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here after the 16th meeting of the council.

“The reduction in rates was based on two principles, one is to maintain the equivalence levels and other a change in user behaviour,” the finance minister


He said traders, manufacturers and restaurants with a turnover of up to Rs 75 lakh can avail the composition scheme, against the Rs 50 lakh earlier. Under the composition scheme, the tax is payable at a concessional rate on the turnover in a state.

Jaitley said two rates have been fixed under the GST for entertainment. “Entertainment tax is levied by states, the weighted average for the entire country is about 30%. But several state governments give an exemption for a cinema of that particular language of the state. In GST, there is no centralised exemption, but if a state wants, it can refund the state GST for promoting regional cinema,” Jaitley said.

With regard to medicines, GST rates for insulin were reduced to 5% from the existing 12%. 

However, chairman and managing director, Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said, “I do believe that chronic therapies like insulin and for diseases like cancer, drugs be exempt from GST altogether because patients do need a lot of help in terms of drug prices. And this would have been a very, very welcome development if they would have actually exempted such drugs from GST altogether.”

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