GST wind down: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says only 34 items in 28 per cent slab now: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the Goods & Services Tax (GST) Council has cut rates of 33 items from 18 per cent to 12 per cent and 5 per cent. According to the finance minister, 0.5 or 1 per cent of the total 1,200-odd items including luxury items such as big cars, aircraft and demerit goods (such as cigarettes) will continue to remain in the 28 per cent slab. Jaitley also said the Law Fitment Committee will take a view on GST on real estate on Sunday meeting as there is a consensus that something needs to be done on this.

The BJP has been in a bit of churn after losing assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to the Congress. Party insiders had been vocal in their demands for the leadership and government to come up with populist measures that could prevent the momentum for 2019 from being dissipated. Several BJP state government were quick to announce loan waivers following the new Congress chief ministers’ announcements. More plans may be in the offing with the government to head confidently into the election year 2019. The unravelling of multiple structures of taxation in the GST is a key declaration but the government’s sudden decision shows the BJP is firmly in damage control mode.

Total Gross GST revenue collected in November, 2018 is Rs 97,637 crore of which CGST is Rs 16,812 crore, SGST is Rs 23,070 crore, IGST is Rs 49,726 crore (including Rs 24,133 crore collected on imports) and Cess is Rs 8,031 crore(including Rs 842 crore collected on imports). During the Current Financial Year 2018-19, between April 2018 to November 2018, 3196 cases of Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion involving Rs 12766.85 Crore were identified while Rs 7909.96 Crore was recovered during the period April 2018 to November 2018. The Government of India has taken various measures to check GST evasion including Intelligence based enforcement; E-Way bill squads; Systematic Analysis of Data and Setting-up of Directorate General (Analytics & Risk Management) among others.

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