Uniform GST Rates Proposed: Impact on Milk Cartons, Sprinklers, and Solar Cookers
Uniform GST Rates Proposed: Impact on Milk Cartons, Sprinklers, and Solar Cookers

New Delhi: The GST Council convened its first meeting following the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and the formation of the new government. Post-meeting, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted that besides the GST Council session, pre-budget consultations were held with state Finance Ministers. Sitharaman outlined the decisions taken, including setting limits for filing appeals before the Appellate Tribunal and higher courts, aimed at reducing GST-related litigation. The Council also recommended waiving interest and penalties on demand notices issued under Section 73 of the GST Act for FY 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20, excluding cases involving fraud, suppression, or misrepresentation.

To support small taxpayers, the deadline for filing GSTR-4 was extended to June 30, and flexibility was introduced for amendments in GSTR-1 through a new form, GSTR-1A. Sitharaman announced the nationwide phased implementation of biometric Aadhaar-based registration to counter fraudulent input tax credit claims via fake invoices. The Council further proposed a uniform 12 percent GST rate on all milk cartons, benefiting apple producers in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, along with a similar rate for sprinklers and solar cookers.

In her press briefing, Sitharaman disclosed the GST Council's decision to grant a rebate of Rs 20,000 per person per month for hostel services outside educational institutions, applicable after a minimum 90-day stay for students or the working class. The Council also provided relief to highway construction companies by shifting from annual GST payments to payments upon actual receipt. Sitharaman clarified that online gaming was not discussed during this meeting, indicating it would be addressed in the next Council meeting expected around mid-August.

Regarding the issuance of GST notices, Sitharaman clarified that the Central GST Department sent notices to only 1.96% of taxpayers, approximately 1.14 lakh, while state GST departments issued more than 14 lakh notices. She emphasized that this constituted less than 2% of the total 50.80 lakh GST payers in the country. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Chaudhary was appointed as the chairman of Rate Rationalization.

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