GST Council Meet underway: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs the 43rd good and services tax (GST) council meeting on Friday, May 28, through video conferencing. According to the Ministry of Finance, the meeting is attended by the Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur along with the finance ministers and the senior officials of the states and Union Territories (UT). The meeting is likely to hold discussions on states seeking a cut in GST rates on the essential COVID-related supplies such as medicines, vaccines, etc.
Besides discussions on the tax rates, the GST Council is also expected to discuss the compensation shortfall to the states amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Finance announced that Ms Sitharaman will address a media briefing today at 7 pm (tentatively) to discuss the outcomes of the 43rd GST council meet.
The GST council meet today is held by the authorities after a gap of almost eight months. On October 5, 2020, the government held the 42nd GST council meet and decided to extend the levy of compensation cess beyond the transition period of five years, as may be required to meet the revenue gap. The central government also announced that the shortfall amount was increased to Rs 1.10 lakh crores from Rs 97,000 crores under the borrowing option.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that 21 states chose the first borrowing option for compensation of revenue shortfall due to the GST implementation. Ms Sitharaman had clarified that the central government is not denying compensation to any state but those states which have not chosen any borrowing option, will have to borrow from the market.
The GST Council is the statutory body that takes decisions regarding the issues of threshold limit for the applicability of the tax, and the limit for dual control between the central government and the states.