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Costlier or Cheaper? Insights from the 50th GST Council Meet

Costlier or Cheaper? Insights from the 50th GST Council Meet

Written by Sanjay Kumar

News highlights

  • In the 50th GST Council meeting, several key decisions were made, including exemptions for cancer-related drugs and rare disease medicines from GST.
  • The GST rate on food served in cinema halls has been reduced to 5% from 18%.
  • Online gaming, horse racing, and casinos will now be taxed at 28%, and GST rates on certain food products and Zari threads have been lowered.

In the 50th meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several important decisions. The council made significant changes to the existing GST slabs for various goods and services. Here is a comprehensive list of goods and services that will become either costlier or cheaper as a result of this meeting:

  1. Cancer-related drugs, medicines for rare diseases, and food products for special medical purposes will now be exempted from GST.
  2. The GST rate on food served in cinema halls has been reduced from 18% to 5%.
  3. The Exemption will be provided on GST for satellite launch services offered by private organizations.
  4. Online gaming, horse racing, and casinos will now be taxed at 28% (all three activities), and they will be taxed based on their full face value.

“Online gaming, horse racing and casinos will be taxed at 28% (all three activities) and they will be taxed on full face value,” said Sitharaman at a press conference in New Delhi.

“Suitable amendments to be made to the law to include online gaming and horse racing in schedule III as taxable actionable claims. Tax will be applicable on the face value of the chips purchased in the case of casinos, on the full value of the bets placed with bookmaker/totalisator in the case of horse racing and on the full value of the bets placed in case of the Online Gaming,” said GST Council in a press release.

Addressing the concerns raised by the gaming industry regarding the tax on the full face value, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured that the intention was not to harm any industry. However, she emphasized that gaming and gambling cannot receive preferential treatment compared to essential industries.

  1. The GST rates on uncooked/unfried extruded snack pallets have been reduced from 18% to 5%.
  2. The rates on fish-soluble paste have been brought down to 5% from 18%.
  3. Rates on imitation Zari threads have been reduced from 12% to 5%.

The meeting, held in the national capital, began with the release of a short film titled ‘GST Council – 50 steps towards a journey’ by Nirmala Sitharaman. According to the Finance Ministry’s tweet, in the previous 49 meetings, the Council has made approximately 1,500 decisions in the spirit of cooperative federalism.

“The 50th meeting is a milestone that signifies the success of cooperative federalism and the establishment of a good and simple tax regime,” the tweet stated.

During the meeting, Sitharaman also unveiled a Special Cover and a customized ‘myStamp’, which was presented to her by the Chief Post Master General of Delhi Circle India Post Office.

The GST Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and includes ministers from all states and Union Territories.

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