Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 43rd Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting on May 28. The top decision-making body is meeting for the first time in over seven months.
The Council is likely to discuss the shortfall of GST compensation to states, which is estimated at Rs 1.6 lakh crore for the current fiscal. They may also talk about the lowering of taxes on COVID-19 related products, including vaccines and medical equipment, according to reports.
During the first GST Council meeting this year, non-BJP-ruled states will demand a central grant instead of agreeing to borrow more to meet the cess shortfall and will also seek an extension of the protected compensation beyond June next year, Congress leader and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh said on May 27, according to news agency PTI.
The opposition’s decision came after seven states -- Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala -- met virtually on May 27 and discussed what priorities need to be pursued and how to improve the structural part of the GST, Badal said.
With the country affected by the pandemic and due to the emergency situation, the economies of all states have suffered and many businesses shut, the Congress leader added.
As India reels under the impact of the second wave of COVID-19, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has pushed for "zero-rated tax" on COVID essentials.
According to sources cited by PTI, the Fitment Committee on GST rates, which comprises tax officers of Centre and states, has also given its report to the Council listing out the pros and cons of waiver and zero-rating of Covid vaccines, drugs, and other equipment.
Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman chairing the 43rd GST Council meeting via video conferencing in New Delhi today. MOS Shri. @ianuragthakur, Finance Ministers of States & UTs and Senior officers from Union Government & States are also present in the meeting. pic.twitter.com/Koi0uhx5Tn
— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) May 28, 2021
Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur, finance ministers and senior officers from states and Union Territories are attending the meeting, Nirmala Sitharaman’s office said in a tweet.
Today’s meeting also marks the debut of five new members. Finance ministers of Assam, Bihar, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry Chief Minister Rangaswamy are attending their first-ever GST Council meeting.
(With agency inputs)
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)
First Published: IST