GST Council decisions provide relief to SME sector: India Inc

GST. Illustration Ajay Mohanty

While addressing the media, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the GST being rolled out three months ago, it was time to assess its effects on various trades and also review the transition.

# The limit for turnover in composition scheme raised from Rs.75 lakh to Rs. 1 crore. "Modi became PM after selling tea and we, too, are hoping that our fate will change by selling tea and our "good days" will soon arrive", said Jaswinder Singh Thukral, president of Janta Nagar Small Scale Manufacturers' Association , As Reported By Tribune. In the simplest of terms, the Composition Scheme is a "less paperwork" initiative that offers an option to small businesses to opt to pay a fixed percentage of turnover as fees/levy instead of tax and get relief from complicated tax compliance procedures.

The decision follows recommendations of a high power committee headed by Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia that looked into ways of addressing the difficulties faced by exporters post-GST and the decline in export performance and export competitiveness. It also lowered GST rates for 27 items. Lowering compliance cost for SMEs to widen the tax base implementation of GST burdened the SME sector following increase in compliance cost on account of filing three-monthly returns and one-annual return (total 37 returns per annum).

The decision to bring down rate for AC restaurants to 12 per cent and reduction of tax slabs for around 60 items to 5 per cent from 12 per cent will help boost household spending and further economic growth, he said.

The last date for filing of final sales returns for July in GSTR-1 form is October 10, while the date for uploading of purchase returns in GSTR-2 is October 31. The procedure is that a company pays the tax on both inputs and output and then applies for a refund for the tax paid on the inputs. Exporters will have e-wallets from April 1, 2018, for refunds. Earlier, they were required to file it monthly. Service providers can not opt for the scheme.

Also, the taxpayer can only make intra-state supply (sell in the same state) and cannot undertake inter-state supply of goods.

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There is good news for mid-day meal schemes as well.

The real estate sector can also expect some relief as it has been said that the stones used for constructions, that now come under 28% slab will go in 18%.

Food packets given to school kids under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) will attract 5 per cent tax instead of 12 per cent.

A thin, crisp cracker made with wheat flour, salt and oil, Khakhra is a popular staple in Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine.

There is good news on the services front too. Among services, job works like zari work, imitation jewellery and printing items have also been brought under this slab. It has now been chose to exempt those service providers whose annual aggregate turnover is less than Rs 20 lakh from obtaining registration even if they are making inter-state taxable supplies of services.

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