The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, led by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has made significant decisions to benefit the public. Cancer-fighting drugs and medicines for rare diseases will now be exempted from the GST levy, providing relief to patients. Additionally, the council has reduced the service tax on food and beverages served in cinema halls to 5%, and revised the definition of an SUV for the purpose of attracting a cess on top of the GST rate.
As per the revised definition, an SUV will now be categorized based on its length (4 meters and above), engine capacity (1,500 cc and more), and ground clearance (unladen clearance of 170 mm and more).
The GST Council has decided to levy a 5% GST on food and beverages served in cinema halls, equivalent to the tax on restaurants, instead of the previous 18% applicable to cinema halls.
A 28% GST rate will now be applicable to the full value of gaming.
The council has also addressed the taxation of online games, casino bets, and racing. Based on the recommendations of a group of ministers, a 28% GST will be imposed on the entire value of playing online games, bets in casinos, and on racing. The tax will be levied without differentiation based on whether the games require skill or are based on chance.
In response to concerns from the gaming industry, Sitharaman clarified that the intention is not to kill any industry but to ensure that gaming and gambling are not treated differently from essential industries. Moral considerations were also taken into account during the council meeting to maintain a balanced approach.
(With inputs from agency)
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Omprakash Tiwary is a business writer who delves into the intricacies of the corporate world. With a focus on finance and economic landscape. He offers readers valuable insights into market trends, entrepreneurship, and economic developments.