Finance Minister Sitharaman chairs pre-budget meeting

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 53rd GST Council meeting in Delhi on June 22, marking the first such gathering since the formation of the new government.

| Updated: 22 June, 2024 7:03 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 53rd GST Council meeting in Delhi on June 22, marking the first such gathering since the formation of the new government.

This meeting, pivotal for economic policy discussions, follows the last session on October 7, 2023, where decisions like imposing a 28% GST on online gaming, casinos, and horse racing were made under Sitharaman’s leadership.

Key agenda items included discussions on potential amendments to the GST Act to eliminate retrospective tax demands. Additionally, deliberations were held on bringing natural gas and Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) under the GST ambit, a move expected to benefit stakeholders across the petrochemical value chain, including producers, marketers, and firms in sectors like polymers and plastics.

The meeting also reviewed decisions from the previous session, such as recommending keeping Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA) outside the GST scope, amendments to Input Service Distributor (ISD) provisions, and the introduction of Amnesty Schemes aimed at providing relief to taxpayers.
Prior to this, Sitharaman initiated pre-Budget consultations with prominent economists on June 19, underscoring the government’s preparation for the Union Budget 2024-25, the first of the third term under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. The consultations included discussions with Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary, the finance secretary, and other key officials from departments of economic affairs, revenue, financial services, corporate affairs, and the chief economic adviser.

The outcomes of today’s GST Council meeting are anticipated to shape forthcoming economic policies, reflecting the government’s commitment to navigating economic challenges and fostering growth in the post-pandemic era.

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