A farmer holds a millet plant for a photograph in a field on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

GST Council Cuts Tax Rate On Fertiliser To 5% From 12%

Just a couple of hours before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, the all-powerful GST Council on Friday reduced the tax rate on fertiliser to 5 percent from previously decided 12 percent.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads the GST Council comprising representatives of states, said the decision to reduce the tax rate on fertiliser was taken because of apprehensions that price of the crop nutrient may go up.

The GST Council, in another move to give relief to farmers, also cut tax rate on exclusive parts of tractors from 28 percent to 18 percent.

"Some felt it (12 percent GST rate) may be a burden on consumer. There was a consensus (in the GST Council) to bring rate to 5 percent," he told reporters after the 18th meeting of the Council.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a dinner for the GST Council members as a special thanksgiving for the decisions the panel took since its formation in September last year.

Since its first meeting on September 23, 2016, the Council has met 18 times and decided on range of issues – from drafts of supporting legislations to GST rules, rates of taxes and fitting over 1,200 goods and services in the four-tier structure of 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent and 28 percent.

Jaitley said the Council meeting also approved an additional set of rules but did not elaborate on the issue.

GST, which unifies more than a dozen central and state levies like excise duty, service tax and VAT, will be implemented from July 1.