NEW DELHI: The GST Council on Friday reduced the levy on several life-saving medicines, agreed to correct the tax structure for several products - ranging from textiles and footwear to pens - and unanimously concluded that there was no need to include petrol and diesel under this tax regime for now.
The concessional GST rates for four Covid drugs was extended by three months up to December 31, while the tax rate was pared for several items, including biodiesel used to blend diesel, retro-fitment kits for vehicles used by the disabled, and cartons, boxes, bags and packing containers of paper.
Although the issue of GST on fuel - which states have been resisting - was on the agenda, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman clarified that it was the result of a high court directive which wanted the GST Council to look at the issue.
Another ministerial panel will look at e-way bills, FASTag, technology and compliance and plugging loopholes.
In terms of the recent directions of the high court of Kerala, the issue of whether specified petroleum products should be brought within the ambit of GST was placed for consideration before the Council. After discussion, the Council was unanimously of the view that it is not appropriate to do so at this stage," Sitharaman said.
A key thrust was the correction of the inverted duty structure-where the final product attracts higher duty than inputs-which will result in 18% tax on pens, railway parts, locomotives and some other goods. In the case of textiles and footwear, which also suffer from the same problem, the details were not shared by the government.
A group of ministers is being set up to look at other such areas where a correction may be warranted, Sitharaman told reporters after the meeting, the first physical gathering after over 16 months. She, however, made it clear that the group will not look at reworking the slabs. Another ministerial panel will look at e-way bills, FASTag, technology and compliance and plugging loopholes.