Punjab FM soon to rejig State GST laws
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Punjab GST laws will soon undergo tweaks to suit the revenue considerations of the State.

Manpreet Badal, the Punjab Finance Minister, has sought from Union Finance Minister to consider taxing electricity, real estate and petroleum products under GST.

The finance minister while interacting with Economic Times stated: “We may also have a look at the entire gamut of tax rates and exemptions so that a long-term blueprint is available for our forward path”. It is clear that a relatively large revenue deficit State such as Punjab is keen on revamping specific provisions of the State’s GST laws.

Provisions governing the list of goods and services exempt from GST, GST rates on certain goods that are revenue generating centres for Punjab will come under the FM scanner.

While revisiting the threshold for GST exclusions, this move suggests a possible shift in the political dynamics within the GST Council ahead of next year’s general elections.

Initially, only items of essentials such as wheat, rice and food grains were included in the exempted category, but the list expanded after many states sought inclusion of mass-consumption items in their states.

Punjab also seeks GST Council for the reconstitution of the law review committee, before the upcoming general election, to look at the entire law holistically. “We should avoid the temptation of another knee-jerk reaction and work towards making our GST truly world-class,” stated Manpreet Badal.

In a letter addressed to Arun Jaitley, the Punjab finance minister also said there should be a common composition limit for goods and services.

Although a majority of the members on the GST council represent the non-BJP, the council has thus far, managed to keep politics out of its deliberations, by receiving equivocal consensus on all decisions.

It is speculated that the meeting of the GST Council held on December 22, following the critical three-state poll results, was a politically charged affair with some Congress state ministers opposing cuts in tax rates of some products to 18% from 28%.

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