State finance ministers focus on problems in filing maiden returns, GST being levied on public utility projects etc.
As the 21st meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council kick-started in Hyderabad on Saturday, various states brought different concerns on board. The demands ranged from the issues faced by businesses in filing their maiden returns for the month of July to concerns over GST being levied on public utility projects. Chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the 21st meeting of the GST Council was being attended by finance ministers of states and GST Secretariat officials.
Over 150 delegates were attending the meet being held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, news agency Indo-Asian News Services (IANS) reported.
Telangana is seeking relief for public utility projects like irrigation schemes, Mission Kakatiya for restoration and revival of tanks and for providing piped drinking water to every household and a two-bed room housing scheme for the poor, IANS said.
Telangana Finance Minister E Rajender said the state would reiterate the demand for scrapping GST on ongoing work contracts or at least reducing it to 5 per cent. The state is also seeking reduction in GST for the granite, marble industry and the beedi sector in view of their huge employment potential.
He said most of the states were supporting reduction in GST on public utility projects.
Telangana argues that its flagship projects were launched before July 1, when GST came into effect, and hence it will not be fair to impose a higher slab.
On the other hand, Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said that the issues faced by GSTN are operational and technical, and these would have happened even if the GST was implemented a year later. Mr Drabu suggested that a group of ministers be formed to look into issues faced by taxpayers on GSTN portal.
Ahead of the meet, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said that although it was claimed that GSTN can handle 3 billion invoices, the glitches in the portal show that GST was implemented in haste. Mr Mitra suggested that a white paper be brought out on the preparedness of GSTN-- the company which operates the IT backbone for GST.
Due to a huge rush of July GSTR-3B return filing on the penultimate date, the GSTN software witnessed glitches and the last date of filing was extended. Also the date of final return filing for GSTR-1 was extended to September 10 in view of rush in invoice uploading.
Ahead of the meeting, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu said that he will highlight various demands that the state had made earlier. "After the implementation of GST, as per our initial estimation, the state may see a short fall of Rs 2,900 crore in revenue," Ramakrishnudu said, reported news agency Press Trust of India. "We also requested the Council to take a lenient view on the tax slab with regard to ongoing government projects. As of today, projects worth about Rs 20,000 crore are under implementation," he said. (With Agency Inputs)