Some of the important decisions taken in the last six Meetings of the GST Council are:
i. The threshold limit for exemption from levy of GST would be Rs.20 lakhs for normal States (Rs.10 lakhs for the Special Category States enumerated in Article 279A of the Constitution).
ii. The threshold for availing the Composition scheme would be Rs.50 lakhs. Service providers would be kept out of the Composition scheme.
iii. To compensate States for 5 years for loss of revenue due to implementation of GST, the base year for the revenue of the State would be 2015-16 and a fixed growth rate of 14% will be applied to it.
iv. Approval of the Draft GST Rules on Registration; Payment; Return; Refund and Invoice, Debit & Credit Notes with the understanding that minor changes may be permitted with the approval of the Chairperson, if required, due to suggestions from the stakeholders or from the Law Department.
v. All entities exempted from payment of indirect tax under any existing tax incentive scheme would pay tax in the GST regime and the decision to continue with any incentive scheme shall be with the concerned State or Central Government. In case any State Government or Central Government decides to continue any existing exemption/incentive scheme, it will be administered by way of a reimbursement mechanism.
vi. Bands of rates of goods under GST shall be 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% and in addition there would be a category of exempt goods. Further, a cess would be levied on certain goods such as luxury cars, aerated drinks, pan masala and tobacco products, over and above the rate of 28% for payment of compensation to the States.
The GST Council in its 1st meeting decided that GST would be rolled-out by 1 April 2017. Accordingly, various timelines had been decided for various aspects of implementation of GST such as recommendation of the Model GST Laws by the GST Council and its passage by the Union Parliament and State Legislatures; the development of front-end Information Technology (IT) modules on the common GST portal and the back-end IT systems; testing and integration of GST front-end and back-end IT systems of all stakeholders; training of both Central and State tax officials; sensitization of the trade, industry and consumers. All efforts are being made to meet the necessary deadlines to ensure that GST is rolled out by 1 April 2017.
At present, agenda items pertaining to ‘GST related draft laws’ and ‘Provisions for cross empowerment to ensure single interface under GST’ are under consideration of the GST Council. 99 Sections the Model GST Law have already been considered by the Council and remaining Sections will be discussed in the next meeting of the Council scheduled for 22-23 December, 2016.
The discussions in GST Council have been very cordial and all decisions till now have been taken by consensus. Members of the Council are participating in the meetings with a very positive attitude and are working towards the roll-out of GST as per the deadline.