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RBI gives thumbs up to 18 per cent GST rate
The Monetary Policy Report produced by the Reserve Bank of India  states that an 18% GST rate would not have any material impact on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation. “While the creation of a unified goods and services market in the country would reduce supply chain rigidities, cut down on transportation costs and also bring down costs in general through improvements in productivity, it could also produce a short-lived pass-through to the inflation trajectory,” the Report said. The Report also said that according to cross-country experiences, one-off effects caused due to GST will dissipate after a year of its implementation.

Source: The Economic Times dated 4 October 2016

GST training: Government faces steep climb as deadline nears
Racing against time on GST, the Revenue Department will have a difficult time training 60,000 field officials for its implementation from 1 April 2016 as it has provided the requisite skills to only 3,074 personnel currently. The National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN) has been tasked with the mammoth task of training officials of both the centre and states. The target is to train 60,000 officers in the 'next few months'.

Source: The Indian Express dated 2 October 2016

ClearTax to foray into returns filing in GST regime, to launch apps
To help clear the confusion over filing returns and tax planning under the impending GST regime, the online tax filing portal, ClearTax will act as an adviser to traders and businesses, assisting them in filing returns. ClearTax Founder and CEO, Archit Gupta said there could be teething trouble arising in the initial 12-18 months after the GST roll-out and the online tax filing portal will launch a mobile app to help businesses file returns on the go.

Source: The Hindu dated 2 October 2016

GST Council agrees on five areas; differ over 1st meet decision
Displaying signs of fracture, the centre and states disagreed on decisions reached at the first meeting of the GST Council on service tax assessments, although they reached a consensus on area-based exemption in the new tax regime. The second meeting of the GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, agreed on five subordinate legislations dealing with issues ranging from registration to invoicing under the new GST regime. The Council also agreed 
on the treatment of exemption from GST. Currently, the centre gives exemption to 11 states, mostly in the north-east and hilly regions, from excise duty as many states give the same as an incentive for setting up the industry.

Source: The Economic Times dated 30 September 2016

Cabinet gives nod to Saksham project for smooth roll-out of GST
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved an INR 22.56 billion project for upgrading the information technology systems of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). The costs for the ‘Saksham’ project will be spread over seven years and will help integrating systems for the entire indirect tax system. The project will help in the implementation of GST, extending the Customs department and will provide a Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) to include more services. It will also facilitate other ease of doing business initiatives of the CBEC, the government said in a statement.

Source: Live Mint dated 28 September 2016 

Did you know?
The GST Council conducted its second meet on 30
September 2016. One of the items on the agenda of the meet was the existing area-based exemptions and tax incentives given to specific industries by the centre and states. It was decided that the existing exemptions would be phased out and a refund mechanism would be adopted. There would be a levy of tax under the GST system on all the exempted entities. Once the tax is levied, the central government or state government, which gets the tax, would then reimburse that quantum of tax back to the exempted entity from their annual budget.
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