GST Council defers sugar cess decision, says FM Jaitley

Sunday, 06 May, 2018

New Delhi: The GST Council today made a decision to refer to a five-member committee of state finance ministers the proposal of levying cess on sugar as the Centre seeks to raise additional resources for providing production subsidy worth Rs 1,540 crore to cane farmers.

The Council chose to acquire the entire 51 percent equity held by non-government institutions in GSTN, amounting to Rs 5.1 cr, equally by the Centre and the states.

GST Council has approved making GST-Network a government entity by taking over 51% stake that was held by private entities, revealed FM Arun Jaitley today.

The GST Council also chose to create two separate Groups of Ministers to look into the possible imposition of a 2% incentive for digital transactions, and also the possible imposition of a cess on sugar to bring prices more in line with input prices, such as those of sugarcane.

In the first phase of the transition, the current arrangement of GSTR-3B and GSTR-1 will continue for the next six months till the software for the new filing system is set up, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters. After this period, all taxpayers will need to file one monthly return with composition dealers, while dealers filing no tax returns will need to file only quarterly returns. Now, says Adhia, GSTR-3B and GSTR-1 will continue till the single return replaces these in about six months.

A unidirectional flow of invoices submitted or uploaded by the seller in a course of time would be a valid document for availing input tax credit. Return filing dates will be staggered based on the turnover of the registered person. He said, members expressed satisfaction over revenue growth.

The council agreed to a proposal of buying out the stake of private entities to make GSTN a government-owned entity, he said adding the central government will own 50 per cent and the remaining would be collectively held by state governments. In stage 2, the new return will have the facility to upload invoice-wise data and also facility for claiming input tax credit on self declaration basis. Here the buyers will get credit, only if corresponding invoice has been uploaded.

Arun Jaitley said that the cost of sugar production is Rs 35 per kilogram and its market price is around Rs 26-28 due to which farmers are in distress.

As per the proposal a 2 per cent incentive in GST rate (where tax is 3 per cent or more) will be given to those who pay through digital mode (including cheque) with a cap of Rs 100 per voucher.

While a majority of the states favoured such an incentive, Jaitley said some states did not support the move.