Chandigarh: Describing any increase in GST on goods related to education a step against the interests of the students, Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Saturday opposed the proposal of considering the GST on pencil sharpeners at 18 per cent instead of existing slab of 12 per cent.
While participating in the 48th meeting of the GST Council through video conferencing, the point raised by Cheema was also supported by the representatives of many other states, after which the decision in this regard was deferred, according to a Punjab government statement here.
"Agreeing on the various recommendation made by the Fitment Committee which meet the interests of both state and nation, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema gave valuable inputs during the GST Council meeting held under the chairpersonship of the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman," said the statement.
Opposing another recommendation regarding the change in GST rates for ethyl alcohol supplied to refineries for blending with petrol, Cheema said that it would create difficulties in checking the diversion of ENA (extra neutral alcohol) to refineries and evasion of tax on the same.
He said that the Punjab Government has already waged a war against the illegal trade of ENA.
He said that it would be a challenge to monitor the tax on ethyl alcohol blended with motor spirit for refineries and curbing the misuse of ENA.
Disagreeing on another agenda regarding the deletion of clause (d) of sub-rule (14) of Rule 138 regarding e-way bills, the Punjab Finance Minister said that this step would take away the power of the state to determine the minimum threshold for inter-state generation of e-way bill.
"As a corollary, the state has already moved an agenda for empowering the states to prescribe e-way bills for certain goods irrespective of the threshold", said Cheema, while adding that this would be important from the perspective of revenue of the state. The GST Council agreed to keep the status quo in this regard, said the statement.
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