Government Doubles Import Duty on Wheat to 20 Percent

The government doubled the import duty on wheat to 20 percent to curb cheap shipments and give positive price signal to farmers in the ongoing Rabi season.

It also imposed an import duty of 50 percent on peas to check cheaper shipments from countries like Canada.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in a notification said that it seeks “to (i) increase rate of basic customs duty on Peas, (Pisum sativum) from present Nil rate to 50%. (ii) increase rate of basic customs duty on wheat from 10% to 20%.”

In March, the government had imposed 10 percent import duty on wheat to contain sharp fall in local prices in view of a bumper crop of 98.38 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (July-June).

As farmers have started planting of rabi (winter) wheat crop, the government wants to give positive price signal and encourage farmers to grow wheat in more area.

The government does not want wheat growers to follow the way of pulses farmers who shifted to other crops this kharif season as prices remained low just before the sowing period owing to a bumper crop last year.

India produced a record 22 million tonnes of pulses in 2016-17 crop year which led to a fall in domestic prices, even below the MSP.

Moreover, the country also imported about 5 million tonnes of pulses last fiscal.

The import duty on peas has been imposed to curb shipments and boost domestic prices.

Recently, the government had also imposed quantitative restrictions on the import of other pulses like tur.

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Composition scheme for GST

The advisory group set up to suggest changes to the GST Act recently deliberated on how to expand the scope of the composition scheme as well as rationalise the reverse charge mechanism process.

About the Composition scheme:


The composition scheme is an alternative method of levy of tax designed for small taxpayers whose turnover is up to Rs 1 crore-Rs 50 lakh in the case of eight north-eastern states and the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh.

The objective behind it is to bring simplicity and reduce the compliance cost for small taxpayers.

While a regular taxpayer has to pay taxes on a monthly basis, a composition supplier is required to file only one return and pay taxes on a quarterly basis.

Also, a composition taxpayer is not required to keep detailed records that a normal taxpayer is supposed to maintain.

Key facts:

  • The scheme is optional under which manufacturers other than those of ice cream, pan masala and tobacco products have to pay a 2% tax on their annual turnover. The tax rate is 5% for restaurant services and 1% for traders.
  • As per the Central GST Act, businesses are eligible to opt for the composition scheme if a person is not engaged in any inter-state outward supplies of goods and not into making any supply of goods through an electronic commerce operator who is required to collect tax at source.
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GST Council forms GoM on GST rates on restaurants

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will head the group of ministers (GoM) of state finance ministers that have been set up to look into various issues pertaining to a scheme for small taxpayers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), also known as the composition scheme.

The GoM will also look into the proposal to reducing GST rates on air-conditioned restaurants from 18 percent to 12 percent.

Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Modi, Jammu & Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, Punjab Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu and Chattisgarh’s Commercial Taxes Minister Amar Agarwal will be a part of the GoM.

Composition scheme is an alternate method of taxation, which allows small businesses with annual turnover up to Rs 75 lakhs, to pay tax at a concessional rate, as well as reduce the compliance cost. The revenue threshold is Rs 50 lakhs for dealers across nine states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, among others. The enrollment into the plan is, however, optional.

On Friday, the GST Council headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley decided to raise the annual turnover threshold on the scheme to Rs 1 crore and reopen its registration for the third time till March 31, 2018.

Under the scheme, traders, manufacturers and restaurants can pay tax at 1, 2 and 5 percent, respectively. The move to widen the turnover threshold is aimed at easing the compliance burden for taxpayers as they will have to file returns only once in a quarter as against monthly returns that need to be filed by other normal taxpayers.

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Lok Sabha passes two bills extending CGST, IGST to Jammu and Kashmir

The Lok Sabha passed two bills extending Central GST and Integrated GST to Jammu and Kashmir, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying the step will ensure greater economic integration of the state with rest of the country.

The Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill passed by the House by a voice vote are aimed at giving effect to the formal amendments required in Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) Acts by removing the exemption that was carved out for J&K.

The GST, which replaced more than a dozen central and state levies, came into effect from July 1 all over the country except J&K where the assembly passed a resolution adopting the constitutional amendment only on July 5. Thereafter, the President issued an ordinance extending the provisions to the state. This was necessary because of the special status that J&K enjoys in the Constitution.

The J&K assembly then passed the Jammu and Kashmir Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 which came into force on July 8, 2017. As Parliament was not in session and an urgent legislation was required to be made, the President had promulgated the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Ordinance, 2017 and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Ordinance, 2017 on July 8.

Quick Facts about Goods and Services Tax (GST):

The GST is a destination-based, single indirect tax that is levied on consumption of goods or use of services across India.

It was rolled out in India from July 1, 2017.

GST replaced 16 levies (7 central taxes and 9 state taxes), consequentially creating India as one market with one tax rate.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising representatives of all states have finalised four tax brackets under GST viz. 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

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