Cinema tickets, TV sets to become cheaper

New Delhi: Cinema tickets, TV sets and video games are set to become cheaper as the GST Council on Saturday slashed rates on a host of items, leaving only 34 items in the highest slab of 28 per cent.

Along with the luxury and sin items, cement was also retained in the 28 per cent slab, after removal of 6 items.

The new rates, part of the process to rationalise the tax structure, will be effective from January 1,2019, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the 31st meeting of the GST Council which also includes Finance Ministers of various states.

Further decisions regarding tax rationalisation will be taken in the next meeting of the GST Council next month, he said.

He said a decision was also taken to form a Group of Ministers to study how states have performed in terms of revenues since the GST was implemented two years back.

According to decisions taken, the cinema tickets costing up to Rs 100, which had 18 per cent GST, will now attract 12 per cent tax, he said.

Cinema tickets costing above Rs 100 will attract 18 per cent GST instead of 28 per cent, he said.
As part of further rationalisation, the GST Council brought a number of items from 18 per cent tax slab to 12 per cent, several from 12 per cent to 5 per cent and some from 12 per cent to 5 per cent and certain items from 12 per cent to nil.

Among the 34 items retained in the 28 per cent slab, 13 are auto parts and one is cement, Jaitley said, adding all these are high revenue items.

Among other items which will continue to attract 28 per cent GST are ACs and dish washers, which are used mainly by the higher strata of the society, the Finance Minister said.

For the common people, the only item in 28 per cent slab will be cement, he said, adding a decision on this will be taken at the GST Council’s next meeting next month.

Jaitley also spoke about rationalising tax rates for pilgrimages by air.

He said as of now, those undertaking pilgrimages like Mansarovar Yatra or Haj using special flights, had to pay GST of 18 per cent while those undertaking the pilgrimage by commercial flight had to pay 5 per cent for economy class and 12 per cent for business class.

The GST Council decided that “it had no logic” and hence these will be treated at the same rates of 5 per cent and 12 per cent.

GST on solar power generating plants and other equipment will attract 5 per cent GST.

The GST Council today also shifted agricultural products, gear boxes, monitors and TV screens up to 32 inches, digital cameras, retreaded tyres, power banks of lithium ion batteries from the 18 per cent slab to a lower slab.

Another important decision, he said, was that the composition scheme would be extended to small service providers in the manufacturing sector.

The threshold will be discussed in the next meeting.

Regarding the MSME sector, he said the GoM on MSME has been asked to give report quickly so that it could be considered in the next GST meeting.

He said two legislative changes to the GST were also suggested at the meeting, one of which related to Advance Ruling Authority.

In this context, it was felt that if two or more states have in conflicting views, then some central authority should be there to take all-India view which will be binding on all states.

Giving an overview of the GST implementation since the last two years, he said some states have improved but in some states, there has not been any significant improvement

“There was suggestion for undertaking a study. A group of ministers will study this data,” the Finance Minister said, adding expert advice would also be taken in this regard.