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53rd GST Council Meeting

53rd GST Council Meeting:

The 53rd meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has approved several measures to ease compliance for small businesses, exempting hostel accommodation, Railway services etc.

  • It also agreed to reconvene in August 2024 to discuss restructuring the multiple tax rates under the seven-year GST.

Key Highlights of the 53rd GST Council Meeting:

  • The council announced the rollout of biometric-based Aadhaar authentication on a national level to combat fraudulent input tax credit claims made through fake invoices. This is aimed at enhancing tax compliance.
  • Hostel accommodation services outside educational institutions are exempt from GST for rents up to Rs 20,000 per person per month, making it more affordable for students and the working class.
  • This exemption applies only for stays up to 90 days, whereas previously such rents incurred 12% GST.
  • GST exemption on platform tickets, aiming to ease the financial burden on passengers. This decision is part of broader efforts to make railway services more affordable.
  • The GST rate on various types of carton boxes was reduced from 18% to 12%. This change is intended to benefit both manufacturers and consumers by lowering the overall cost of these essential packaging materials.
  • A uniform GST rate of 12% was announced for all milk cans, regardless of whether they are made of steel, iron, or aluminium.
  • The council has recommended waiving interest and penalties for demand notices issued under Section 73 of the GST Act, which applies to cases that do not involve fraud, suppression, or misstatements.
  •  The GST Council has recommended new monetary thresholds for filing appeals by the department in various courts which are Rs 20 lakh for the GST Appellate Tribunal, Rs 1 crore for High Court, and Rs 2 crore for the Supreme Court for filing appeals by the department.
  • The aim is to reduce government litigation.
  • The government introduced the ‘Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment’, where some loans are conditional on states implementing citizen-centric reforms and capital projects, urging states to meet the criteria to access these loans.
  • The central government expressed its intent to bring petrol and diesel under the GST regime, pending consensus among states on the applicable tax rate.
  • This is viewed as a step towards uniform taxation of fuel across the country.