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Soumik Dey
Soumik Dey


GST Council to discuss ways to ease tax pressure


All eyes are on the 22nd GST Council meeting at New Delhi. The meeting is said to have prompted BJP chief Amit Shah, to abort his Kerala tour and join the Prime Minister.

The meeting started with chairman of the GST council, Arun Jaitley, addressing the finance ministers about the need to benefit not just small business and industries but also the common man.

About 25 finance ministers of the states and Union territories are known to be attending Friday's meeting of the highest indirect tax formulating body. Finance ministers of Maharashtra, Kerala, and some hill states have sought GST rate rationalisation on 60 items for discussion today.

"If any rate cut is adopted in the current GST rate structure, it can lead to an immediate booster shot in the economy," said Srivatsan Rajan, chairman, Bain & Company India, at the sidelines of the India Economic Summit today.

"It could turn out to have a bigger impact than the RBI-initiated bank rate cut," Rajan said, indicating that it would be 'nothing less' than a stimulus package.

Also on the table at the GST council meeting today, is the issue of releasing more than Rs 65,000 crore as tax refunds to exporters.

In the earlier regime, exporters were exempted from paying tax on imported inputs but in the GST system, exporters are supposed to pay IGST and later claim refunds.

"Refund will not take time. There are some IT related issues which were highlighted and due correction have been done," assured a finance ministry official.

He said the Council will deliberate a discussion from Bihar Finance Minister Sushil Modi at the meeting on speeding up refunds to exporters.

Another relief exporters are expecting to be allowed by the GST Council meeting is a higher exemption limit under the composition scheme, which allows small businesses and exporters to pay a tax of 1-5 per cent on most inputs.

A formal announcement of today's decision is due later today, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Hasmukh Adhia, Union revenue secretary heading the panel to deliberate on exporters issues, are likely to brief the media.

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