GST Council: A Brief Guide
The GST Council is an apex committee that holds the responsibility of modifying, reconciling, or procuring any laws or regulations related to goods and services tax in India. It was formed under Article 279A of the Indian Constitution. The chairman of the GST Council is the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, assisted by other council members that include Union State Minister of Revenue or Finance of all State Governments.
The council has the power to make any recommendations to the Union and State Governments in the context of GST, including inclusion and exclusion of products or services under GST, revising rates, and much more. However, the Central Government holds one-third of the total votes, while the State Government accounts for the remaining two-thirds of total votes. On December 18, 2019, the GST Council held its 38th Council meet.
The main purpose of the GST council is to ensure that the laws and regulations related to GST is properly implemented. A uniform tax rate is to be levied all across the country. They are the key decision-makers regarding the GST. They regulate laws on tax exemption, tax rates, due dates of GST returns, and more in relation to every category of products and services.
Structure of GST Council
The GST Council has to be constituted by the President of India within 60 days of the commencement of Article 279A. It is a joint committee for the States and the Centre. The members of GST Council include:
- The Union Finance Minister — Chairperson;
- The Union Minister of State in charge of Revenue or Finance — Member;
- And, the Minister-in-charge of taxation or finance or any other Minister as appointed by each State government — Member.
The setting up of the GST Council was approved on September 12, 2016. Here are the following details:
- Create the GST Council as per Article 279A of the amended Constitution;
- GST Council will have its office at New Delhi;
- The Chairperson and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will be the permanent invitee (non-voting) to all proceedings of the GST Council;
- Secretary (Revenue) is appointed as the Ex-officio Secretary to the GST Council;
- Create one post of Additional Secretary and four posts of Commissioner in the GST Council (at the level of Joint Secretary)
- The GST Council Secretariat will consist of members taken on deputation from both the State and Central Governments.
Latest GST Council Meeting Update
The 38th GST Council Meeting was organized on December 18, 2019. Some of the highlights of the GST meetings include:
i. Both State-run and State-authorized lottery will have a uniform GST rate of 28%, with effect from March 1, 2020
ii. Entities with 20 percent of government stakes as compared to 50 percent earlier will be exempted from GST payments applicable on a long-term lease of industrial/financial infrastructure plots from January 1, 2020,
iii. With effect from January 1, 2019, the GST rate on plastic bags with HS code 3923/ 6305 has been increased to 18%
iv. The deadline for filing GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C for FY 2017-18 has been extended to January 31, 2020.