No GST Council meeting until Lok Sabha elections are over, new govt is formed: Report

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The next Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting may be scheduled after the Lok Sabha Election 2024. Official sources on Thursday said that the GST Council will not meet until the new government is formed at the Centre, CNBC TV-18 reported. The last meeting was held on October 7, 2023. The Centre has also not issued any notification on the next meeting of the Council.  

The GST Council decides on crucial tax-related deliberations. The Procedure and Conduct of Business Regulations of the GST Council says, “The Council shall meet at least once in every quarter of the financial year.” Before the 52nd GST Council meeting in October 2023, the 51st GST Council meeting was held on August 2, 2023. The last meeting was presided over by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and attended by Finance MoS Shri Pankaj Chaudhary, the Revenue Secretary, Chairman CBIC, Member CM, Member GST, Member TP and senior officers from Union Government and States.

As per council rules, a meeting should have taken place in January 2024. As per the report, the GST council couldn’t convene the meeting in January and February due to the prevailing rules, owing to the budgetary obligations of both the Union and State governments.

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) issued by the Election Commission puts restrictions on the ruling political party from implementing any policy that may convince voters. Any new policy must be approved by the EC. Ongoing development projects remain unaffected. The MCC is active from the poll announcement until the new government is constituted.

In the last meeting, GST Council had decided on the following:

1. GST Council recommended to keep Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA) used for manufacture of alcoholic liquor for human consumption outside GST. 

2. GST reduced on molasses from 28% to 5%. This step will increase liquidity with mills and enable faster clearance of  cane dues to sugarcane farmers.

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