Two weeks from now, the 31st GST Council meeting will be held on Saturday, 22nd December 2018. A recent press release by PIB states that the GST council so far has met 30 times and took 918 decisions since its constitution. It further has to its credits almost 96% of decisions implemented through 294 notifications. The Council will be chaired by FM Shri Arun Jaitley at Delhi.
There are speculations that the council is expected to discuss the proposal in what could effectively slash the highest GST tax slab to 18 per cent. The GST Council sub-committee reports on sugar, disaster cess are also likely to be taken up in the meeting. Further, simplified returns, completely online refunds process are likely to be discussed. However, the agenda for the meeting has not been made official yet.
During the release of the BJP manifesto, Jaitley reportedly said, “The Central government is in its favour but needs a consensus of all states to include petrol and diesel in GST. Till then, we are trying our best.” He stated that the GST council would prefer to take a general consensus rather than forcing the decision on all the states. Jaitley was quoted by reports as saying, “It is a federal setup and such a move may affect revenue aspects of any states if decided unilaterally.”
The 30th GST council meeting was conducted on 28th September 2018. The agenda of the meeting related to the streamlining of GST systems and to deliberate on the need to levy cess during exigencies. The meeting was chaired by Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley through video conferencing.
The GST Council was constituted on 15th September 2016 under Article 279A of the Constitution. It consists of the Union Finance Minister as the Chairperson, the Union Minister of State in charge of Revenue or Finance and the Minister in charge of Finance or Taxation or any other Minister nominated and appointed by each state government.
The GST Council in India has ushered a new phase of cooperative federalism where the Central and the State Governments collaborate together to take collective decisions on all issues relating to indirect tax regime of the country.