Council decides to exempt imports by diplomatic missions

Gandhi topi, khadi yarn and Indian national flag also exempt under GST.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published:June 5, 2017 5:00 am
GST. Indirect Tax regime, farm income Thinkstock image

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has decided to exempt imports by privileged persons, organisations, authorities and foreigners under multilateral/bilateral commitments from the Integrated GST (IGST). Certain goods such as Gandhi topi, khadi yarn and the Indian national flag have been exempted under the GST regime, the detailed list of item-wise taxation rates released after the 15th GST Council meeting on Saturday showed.

The list of imports exempted from IGST levy includes goods imported by diplomatic missions in India and their families, their personal and household effects; foodstuffs, medicines, medical stores of perishable nature, clothing and blankets, imported by a charitable organisation as free gift to it from abroad and meant for free distribution to the poor and the needy and drugs, medicines and medical equipment required for the treatment of the victims of the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster.

The IGST exemption has also been provided for imported containers of durable nature subject to re-export in 6 months from the date of their importation; goods imported by the Red Cross Society for purposes of relief to distressed persons and fuel in the tanks of the aircrafts of an Indian airline or of the Indian Air Force, subject to the condition that the quantity of the said fuel is equal to the quantity of the same type of fuel which was taken out of India in the tanks of the aircrafts of the same Indian airline or of the Indian Air Force.

Besides, IGST exemptions have been given for research equipment imported by public-funded research institutions or a university or an IIT or the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, or a regional engineering college, research institutions, other than a hospital, departments and laboratories of the Centre and state government, other than a hospital, and the regional cancer center (cancer institute).

GST will subsume countervailing duty (CVD) and special additional duty (SAD). However, basic customs duty will continue to be levied as per the current law. IGST is proposed to be levied by the Centre on inter-state movement of goods and services under the GST regime. Import into India will be considered as inter-state supply and, accordingly, will attract IGST along with basic customs duty and other surcharges.

Among the other items exempted under GST in the textiles category, blankets and travelling rugs, curtains, bed linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen, of terry towelling or similar terry fabrics of value below Rs 1,000 will attract a five per cent tax. Also, napkins, mosquito nets, sacks and bags, life jackets valuing below Rs 1,000 would be taxed at five per cent. Those valued above Rs 1,000 will attract a 12 per cent levy. Matchboxes, packed organic fertiliser will face a five per cent tax in the new regime. Imitation jewellery, pearls and coins will attract three per cent tax from July 1, the proposed rollout date of GST, the list showed.

The GST Council, headed by FM Arun Jaitley and having representatives of states and UTs, has already fitted almost all goods and services in the tax brackets of five, 12, 18 and 28 per cent. The next GST Council meeting is slated for June 11 wherein the Council will take up tax rate for lottery and other pending rules of e-way bill and accounts and records.

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