oppn parties GST Council Meet: Routine Affair

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court sentences Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu to one year rigorous imprisonment in the 1988 road rage case
  • Home Minister Amit Shah says rights should not be demanded before fulfilling responsibilities and that universities are no place to wage ideological battles
  • NIA court convicts JKLF chief Yasin Malik in terror funding case after he pleads guilty of all charges
  • A study backed by PM-EAC has recommended universal basic income and urban job guarantee and greater spend on social sector schemes
  • Supreme Court rules that the decisions of the GST Council are not binding on the Centre and the states, leaving the door open for states to levy further taxes
  • After sustained campaign by BJP MP Arjun Singh, the Centre today withdrew the jute price cap order, industry welcomes move
  • Akasa Air might postpone its July launch due to late arrival of aircrafts
  • Metro Cash & Carry decides to sell Indian operations. All major players, including Reliance retail and Amazon, are likely to bid
  • Local and global cues spook the markets on Friday - Sensex crashes 1416 points to 52792 and Nifty by 430 points to 15809
  • IPL: RCB crushes GT by 8 wickets as Virat Kohli returns to form with a well-made half century
  • Nikhat Zareen is world champion in flyweight category. Wins gold at Women's World Championships at Instanbul
  • Supreme Court uses its special powers under Article 124 to release A G Perarivalan, a Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict
  • Indrani Mukherjea, prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, gets bail from Supreme Court after 6.5 years in jail
  • Hardik Patel quits Congress, says top leaders distracted by mobile phones and state leadership busy arranging 'chicken sandwiches' for them
  • Anil Baijal resigns as Lieutenant Governor of Delhi citing "personal reasons"
Nikhat Zareen is crowned world champion in the flyweight (52Kg) category at the Women's World Championships in Istanbul /////// Supreme Court sentences Navjot Singh Sidhu to rigorous imprisonment of one year in the road rage case /////// Sunil Jakhar, who quit the Congress a few days ago, joins the BJP
oppn parties
GST Council Meet: Routine Affair

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The first meeting of the GST Council under the new government and a new finance minister was a routine affair, to put it mildly. It was expected that the new government would take some bold decisions that would portray its intent of reviving the economy. But the meeting focused more on procedural matters rather than the urgent need to revise the rates for several products.

The decision to allow Aadhar for GST registration, both for individuals and companies, is good. This was possible because the money paid for such registration is paid into the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) and the Supreme Court had permitted the use of Aadhar for any purpose if the amount was transferred to the CFI. This would make GST registrations easier. The Council has also simplified the filing of returns and this will make life easier for small traders.

But the Council erred in extending the life of the National Anti-Profiteering Agency (NAPA) by two years. It is true that some unscrupulous companies and traders do not pass on the benefit of the rate reduction in GST to consumers, but such things should be left to market mechanisms rather than a regulator. Technological advances and intense competition in the marketplace ensures that sooner, rather than later, any price reduction as a result of lower taxes has to be passed on to the customer. The powers of the NAPA have also been increased. It can now impose an additional 10% of the profiteered amount as penalty, in addition to the Rs 25000 maximum it could impose earlier. There is a need to watch for highhandedness by officers of NAPA.

The Council should have reduced rates, at least on cement, air-conditioners, bottled water and electric cars, just to name four products. If the government pushes affordable housing and focuses on infrastructure, the high rate of tax on cement is self-defeating. Air-conditioners and bottled drinking water are no longer luxuries. There are also a host of input products that are taxed at a higher rate than the final product they help in producing. These should also get a rate cut. The Council should also focus on evasion now that it has introduced many measures to simplify return filing.