Ahead of the Union Budget presentation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet officials of all the five departments under the finance ministry on June 20 to discuss the road map for boosting the country's growth and generating jobs, sources said. This has led to the deferment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting by a day.
The Council is likely to take up a slew of issues, including the introduction of the electronic invoice facility for large firms. Besides, the body chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may decide on the extension for the National Anti-Profiteering Authority beyond the two-year sunset clause, which ends in November.
On Thursday, Modi is expected to discuss the road map for every department as well as the strategy for increasing the revenue mop-up and taking reform steps to push GDP growth, which has slipped to five-year low of 6.8 per cent in 2018-19. The meeting will come at a time when the finance ministry is in the process of finalising the 2019-20 Budget, which will be unveiled by Sitharaman on July 5.
The GST Council may not take up reduction in rates, keeping revenues in mind.
“The half-day meeting on Friday will take up the report by the committee on generation of e-invoice through the GST Network portal. As for rate reduction, there may not be enough revenue space at the moment,” said an official.
According to the interim report on e-invoicing, the system will be first introduced for firms with a turnover of over Rs 500 crore for easier compliance. It will make compliance simpler for companies as the e-invoicing system will do away with the need to file returns separately on a monthly basis. The GSTR 1, the seller return, and GSTR 2, the buyer return form, will get automatically populated.
The Council will also take up the extension for the profiteering watchdog, with about 700 cases pending. With a disposal rate of about 6-7 cases a month so far, the body may need an extension of at least 2.5-3 years, according to officials. Besides, the watchdog will be needed till the time the GST converges to a single rate and the possibility of further rate reduction reduces substantially, the government feels. However, a specific timeline for extension may not be proposed, and will be left to the GST Council to decide.