GST Council accepts govt recommendations on curd, buttermilk, others

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GST Council accepts govt recommendations on curd, buttermilk, others

Packaged curd, lassi, buttermilk, foodgrains, cereals, honey, papad, and a host of unbranded food items besides hotel rooms with a tariff below 1,000 per night and hospital rooms with a daily tariff of over 5,000 are set to be taxable with the Goods and Services Tax GST Council on Tuesday accepting the recommendations of a panel of state finance ministers. The date of implementation of these recommendations hasn't been decided, people familiar with the deliberations said. These items are currently exempt from GST. The council also approved the recommendations of a ministerial panel on stricter scrutiny and verification of high-risk taxpayers. These decisions were made on the first day of the two-day GST Council meeting in Chandigarh. The council, which will hold its deliberations on Wednesday, is expected to discuss the implementation of these recommendations of the two GoMs groups, one on the rates and the other on GST reforms. The council is expected to extend the term of the GoM on rates by another six months to finalise its report on rejigging slabs. The GoM has recommended that the exemption for GST can be extended to include bread as well as hearing aids, educational institutions, incense sticks, utensils, tractors, and agri-related machinery. It suggested phasing out the tax exemption on services provided by the Reserve Bank of India RBI and the Securities and Exchange Board of India Sebi and withdrawing the GST exemption for cheques loose or in book form, and favoured a GST rate of 18%. The council has accepted recommendations from the GoM on GST reforms headed by Maharashtra finance minister Ajit Pawar, which has suggested stricter scrutiny and verification of high-risk taxpayers and mandatory presentation of electricity bills at the time of registration. The GoM also suggested public disclosure of information on unregistered bogus traders and certification of taxpayers' bank accounts by the National Payments Corporation of India NPCI. The GST Council also discussed extending the term of the National Anti-Profiteering Authority NAA beyond November this year. One person said it favoured that the solicitor general be consulted in cases where the constitutional validity of NAA was challenged. The council has agreed to a detailed review of the NAA mandate for further strengthening. People aware of the discussions said most states agreed that the role of the NAA is crucial and that its tenure needs to be extended. The demand by multiple states to extend compensation beyond June 30 was discussed by the council. The Centre had promised to compensate states for any revenue loss on account of the shifting to GST for five years -- that ends June 30. Another person said there was no consensus on extending compensation further and the discussion is likely to continue on Wednesday. The council has allowed states to issue bills for the intra-state movement of gold and precious stones. The GST Council has also learned that it has to draw up a report on a detailed structure for the GST tribunals and the matter of setting up GST tribunals to the GoM.