GST started on 1st July 2017 in India and has been a major part of our lives ever since. The former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, and the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi were the ones who took this decision.
This meeting was held on 17th September in Lucknow under the direct chairmanship of Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman who is the Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister. This was the 45th meeting of the Council and various decisions were taken in the meeting.
The Council took note of the ongoing pandemic and seeing the grim situation all around, they decided to extend the concessional tax rates on Covid-19 medicines till 31st December 2021.
The medicines included for the concessional tax rates on Covid-19 are:
Amphotericin B (nil)
Anti-coagulants like Heparin (5%).
Reduction of GST rate to 5%
– Casirivimab & Imdevimab
– Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab
However, the council members did not feel that it was the time to include petrol and diesel under the GST, as was speculated ahead of the meeting.
During a press briefing after the meet, Sitharaman said about the petrol prices, “This came on today’s agenda purely because of the Kerala High Court order where it suggested the matter to be placed before GST Council. The Council members made it clear they do NOT want petroleum products to be included under GST. It was decided, we will report to Kerala HC that, matter has been discussed and Council felt it was not the time to bring petroleum products under GST,” she said.
A proposal which had earlier been passed to direct food delivery platforms such as Zomato and Swiggy to collect and pay 5% GST on food orders directly to the exchequer has been approved in the meeting.
For those who do not know, the tax department levies a 5% GST on cooked food which is sold by restaurants. In case of online food delivery, what earlier was happening was that the aggregating platforms ( for example, Zomato and Swiggy) used to directly collect the GST from their customers and further passed it to the restaurants.
After receiving this GST from food delivery platforms, restaurants were required to pay this tax to the government. However, the tax department noticed that this system in place is confusing and even led to the evasion of taxes by restaurants. Hence, to make it easier and more clear, the GST Council has decided that food delivery companies would be collecting and paying the 5% GST on food orders directly to the government only instead of the long process.
This move wouldn’t be impacting customers as they would be paying the same amount of GST as earlier whereas hand, food delivery platforms will now have to start collecting and paying 5% GST on food orders starting from January 1, 2022.
The Finance Minister, in the meeting said that the revenue neutral position which was 15.5% at the time when GST was introduced in 2017 has steadily decreased to around 11.6% and hence there has been a discussion on this topic as well.
GST for some things has been increased, while for others it has been reduced, keeping in mind the current scenario and the well being of the society.
The items whose GST has been reduced are as follows:
Retro fitment kits for vehicles used by the disabled – GST rate slashed to 5 per cent
Fortified Rice Kernels for schemes like ICDS etc. – GST slashed from 18 per cent to 5 per cent
Medicine Keytruda for treatment of cancer – GST slashed from 12 per cent to 5 per cent
Biodiesel supplied to OMCs for blending with Diesel – GST slashed from 12 per cent to 5 per cent
IGST on import of medicines for personal use (Zolgensma for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Viltepso for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Other medicines used in treatment of muscular atrophy recommended by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Department of Pharmaceuticals) – GST slashed from 12 per cent to Nil GST
Unintended waste generated during the production of the fish meal except for Fish Oil – Nil GST for the period of July 1, 2017, to September 30, 2019.
IGST exemption on goods supplied at Indo-Bangladesh Border haats – Nil GST
The items whose GST has been increased are as follows:
Ores and concentrates of metals such as iron, copper, aluminium, zinc and few others – GST rates hiked from 5 per cent to 18 per cent
Specified Renewable Energy Devices and parts – GST rates hiked from 5 per cent to 12 per cent
Cartons, boxes, bags, packing containers of paper etc. GST rates hiked from 12/18 per cent to 18 per cent
All kinds of pens – GST increased from 12/18 per cent to 18 per cent
Railway parts, locomotives and other goods in Chapter 86 – GST rates hiked from 12 per cent to 18 per cent
Miscellaneous goods of paper like cards, catalogue, printed material (Chapter 49 of tariff) – GST rates hiked from 12 per cent to 18 per cent
Waste and scrap of polyurethanes and other plastics – GST rates hiked from 5 per cent to 18 per cent