Slew of measures announced during 45th GST Council meeting

During the 45th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman extended concessional tax rates on drugs used in Covid treatment till 31 December 2021, slashed tax on cancer drugs, waived GST on import of highly expensive medicines for muscular atrophy and decided to charge services by cloud kitchens and food delivery platforms like Zomato and Swiggy a five per cent GST from 1 January 2022. However, the panel decided to continue keeping petrol and diesel out of the GST purview as subsuming the current excise duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) into one national rate would impact revenues. The GST Council has also decided to take a host of measures to streamline compliance including mandatory Aadhaar authentication for businesses to file refund claims. Among other measures, the Council announced to set up two Group of Ministers (GoMs) to examine issue of correction of inverted duty structure for major sectors and for using technology to further improve compliance, including monitoring.