GST Council to meet on August 4; panel to focus on MSME sector problems

GST Council to meet on August 4; panel to focus on MSME sector problemsThe Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council headed by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will meet on Saturday to specifically look at the taxation-related issues faced by the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), a sector that is still grappling to adapt to the changes in the new tax system.

The format of the 29th meeting of the Council—the highest decision-making body under the indirect tax system–will be different this time as they will be meeting without any formal consolidated agenda note.

A panel of officers, comprising bureaucrats from the Centre and states, that generally meets a day ahead of the main meeting, will not gather this time around.


State finance ministers, who are also members of the Council, will discuss the issues that the small industries of various states are facing. This has never been a norm in any of the meetings till date.


The meeting will consider all aspects of GST, with a focus on laws, simplification of policy, reducing compliance burden and technology-related issues affecting the MSME sector.

Industry bodies want incentive in form of refunds for the GST paid through cash, by all entities having turnover up to Rs 2.5 crore. In the pre-GST regime, small-scale industries having a turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore were exempted from payment of excise duties. This incentive was not applicable after the implementation GST that subsumed all state and central taxes.

The MSMEs want a lesser fee for the specialised software needed to maintain accounts under GST. They also want the present limit of e-waybill of Rs 50,000 to be increased to Rs 1,00,000, a move if accepted will reduce compliance burden.

States such as Andhra Pradesh want a rate cut on several items including tractors and tractor spares, egg trays, movie tickets, utensils, instant convenience food, breakfast cereals among others.

In the wake of major rate cuts in the November and July Council meeting, the MSMEs want the government to bring clear guidelines on anti-profiteering, as the current law is open to multiple interpretations.

In addition, they want all scheduled banks to be authorised for tax payment on the portal of the technology backbone Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN). Currently, only 14 banks are authorised for GST payment.

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