A worker holds his goods and services tax (GST) papers in his store at a wholesale market in the Old Delhi area of Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Ministerial Panels On GST Relief To MSMEs, Levy Of Calamity Cess To Meet On Jan. 6

Two ministerial panels under the GST Council will meet on Sunday to decide on hiking the exemption threshold for micro, small and medium enterprises and feasibility of levying calamity cess under the new indirect tax regime, officials said.

The six-member Group of Ministers on MSMEs, headed by Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla, would deliberate on the problems faced by micro, small and medium enterprises under goods and services tax and scope for hiking exemption threshold for such units.

Currently, businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 20 lakh are exempt from GST.

The other members of the MSME GoM, which was constituted in August last year, are Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.

Another GoM, headed by Sushil Modi, on levy of calamity cess under GST, too, is scheduled to meet on Jan. 6, the officials said.

The Modi-led GoM had in October last year decided to seek states' views on whether a state-specific or a nationwide "disaster tax" should be levied under the GST.

The GST Council, the highest decision-making body of the new tax regime, had in September last year set up the seven-member GoM to consider a cess for Kerala flood rehabilitation.

Apart from Sarma, Isaac and Badal, the other members of the calamity cess GoM include Odisha Finance and Excise Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera, Maharashtra Finance and Excise Minister Sudhir Murgantiwar and Uttarakhand Finance Minister Prakash Pant.

The decisions of the two ministerial panels would be placed before the GST Council when it meets next on Jan. 10.

The council, among other things, would also discuss lowering GST on under-construction flats and houses to 5 percent from 12 percent.

It would also consider a composition scheme for small suppliers and rationalisation of tax rates on lottery. Currently, state-organised lottery attracts 12 percent GST, while state-authorised lottery attracts 28 percent.