Amid hopes of rates cut on several items, GST Council set to meet on Saturday

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council will meet in the national capital on Saturday amid talks about possibilities in rates cut on several items. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in effect, has recently flagged off the issue when said in Mumbai that the government wants to ensure that 99 per cent things attract GST at 18 percent or lower rate.

Prime Minister’s announcement had sparked a political row too. Congress president Rahul Gandhi sought to take credit for the announcement made by Mr Modi that 99 per cent of goods and services would soon fall under the 18 per cent -or-less GST slab. Rahul Gandhi claimed in a Twitter message that Prime Minister’s announcement had come after Congress could give the government a ‘jolt’ from a deep slumber.

West Bengal Finance Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Amit Mitra has flayed Prime Minister saying while the Parliament is on the government could not make any such announcement and such a move amounted to violation of parliament procedures.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has hot back at Mr Gandhi and also dismissed suggestion of  a single slab GST as argued by the Congress President and said this would be a ‘stupid Idea’. “Luxury and sin items can’t be taxed at the same rate as the common man’s item,” Mr Jaitley had tweeted.

Meanwhile, sources said, a discussion on the revenue position of the Centre and states, easing refund-related rules for exporters, is also likely to be on the agenda of the GST Council meet here. The GST Council, headed by finance minister Arun Jaitey, is the highest decision-making body of the new indirect tax system that came into effect from July 1, 2017.

Taking place as it is in the backdrop of the recent Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the meeting is seen by analysts as a part of the government plan to boost consumption and increase demand in key sectors of economy ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

The Insides Speak.