11.11.2022: Few and far between GST Council meets irk some states

Several states have voiced concerns to the Centre on a reduced number of GST Council meetings chaired by the Union finance minister and her state counterparts, sources privy to the developments told CNBC-TV18.

Between January-October 2022, the GST Council has met only once and the rules mandate the council to meet at least once every three months. The 47th GST Council meeting was conducted on June 28 and 29 in Chandigarh.
Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Kerala, and Punjab are among the states which have expressed concerns and asked the council to meet as per the rules, according to multiple people familiar with the development.
Further, states have asked the council to inform about the delay in formalising reports of the panel of ministers on setting up a GST appellate tribunal; and levy of tax on casinos, horse racing, and online gaming, sources in the know told CNBC-TV18.
In addition, the status of the much-awaited full report of the committee tasked with rationalisation of GST rates is delayed and may come up for discussion at the 48th GST Council meeting in Madurai.
Reacting to the delay in GST Council meetings, the Union Finance Ministry has taken cognizance of concerns and is likely to hold the next meeting within a month, sources close to the development said.
Amit Mitra, former GST Council member and advisor to the West Bengal chief minister told CNBC-TV18, “We have seen a steady erosion of the federalist character of the GST council where majoritarianism seemed to be the norm and going by consensus principal too had steadily weakened. And now comes to the third blow where the council is not even meeting regularly.”
The 47th GST Council meeting had approved the interim report of the GoM on rate rationalisation, headed by Karnataka Chief Ninister Basavaraj Bommai. The council had then given a three-month extension to the panel for submitting a full report on rate rationalisation and potential tax slab merger under the GST.
The GoM on rate rationalisation set up on September 24, 2021, was originally due to submit its report within two months or November 2021. The panel has got subsequent extensions since then.
With regard to setting up a GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT), the Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala-led GoM has submitted its report to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The report has recommended one technical member and one judicial member in the GSTAT. The GSTAT would hear appeals against the orders passed by the GST Appellate Authority, which consists of tax officers.
The GoM on applicable GST rate on casinos, horse racing, and online gaming is yet to arrive at a consensus and a final decision is expected soon. The GoM, headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, had originally suggested levying 28 percent GST on online gaming, casinos, and horse racing.
However, the council, in June, referred back to the report of the panel for further discussion after Goa Finance Minister Mauvin Godinho highlighted that there was a need for greater detailing and greater understanding of why casinos require a different taxation treatment versus horse racing and online gaming.
Source: CNBC TV 18

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