The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has approved setting up 18 sectoral groups to ensure timely responses for sector-specific issues that will help in a smooth transition to the new indirect tax regime. These eighteen sectoral working groups consist of senior officers from the Centre and states and they will interact and examine representations received from trade and industry associations of their respective sector.
The GST Council, which is scheduled to meet next on June 11, have entrusted these groups to highlight sector-specific issues for the smooth transition of the respective sector to the GST regime, interact and examine representations received from trade and industry associations/bodies of their respective sector and prepare sector-specific draft guidance.
“The officials of these Sectoral Groups will deal with the issues and the problems of the respective sector(s) they represent. Concerned industry Groups/Associations or even individual industry representative(s) may approach the respective Sectoral Group officers with their problems, if any, relating to GST implementation who, in turn, will try to guide and help them in resolving the same. This exercise will help in dealing with most of the sectoral problems and issues at the local/regional level,” a finance ministry statement said.
The approved eighteen sectoral groups pertain to banking; financial and insurance; telecom; exports including export oriented units and special economic zones; IT/ITeS (Information Technology Enabled Services); transport and logistics; textiles; MSMEs, including job work; oil and gas (upstream and downstream); gems and jewellery; services received and provided by the government; food processing sector; e-commerce; big infrastructure (airport, power, housing/construction); travel and tourism; handicrafts (exports); media and entertainment and drugs and pharmaceuticals.
The Indian Express had reported earlier this week that the GST Council in its fourteenth meeting in Srinagar had approved a 3-tier structure for project management, consisting of the office of revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia at the top, followed by a Project Management Team called GST Implementation Committee and eight standing committees in addition to these 18 sectoral groups.
The GST Council is slated to meet on Sunday, where it will take up approval of amendments to draft GST Rules and rate adjustment, if any, based on the representations received from different trade and industry and their associations, another finance ministry statement said. The Council will take up the pending tax rate for lottery and the pending rules of e-way bill and accounts and records.
Various states and industry associations have sought a review of the tax rates saying that the GST incidence is working out to be much higher than the present level of taxation. The auto industry has been demanding a review of the GST rate on mid and large-sized hybrid cars which are proposed to be taxed at 43 per cent, higher than the current level of effective tax rate of 30.3 per cent. Also, the telecom sector has been placed in the 18 per cent tax bracket and they are demanding that the rate should be lowered. COAI has written to revenue secretary to review the matter. IT hardware firms are seeking an uniform GST rate of 18 per cent on IT products, like monitors and printers, instead of 28 per cent proposed for some items.