New Delhi: The 31st Goods and Services (GST) Council meeting is being held today and expectations are high that rates on some items may be brought down from 28 per cent to the 18 per cent slab. Also Read - Era of Scams Left Behind; Need to Work Together to Fight Corruption: PM Modi

The meeting comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, earlier this week, indicated at further simplifying GST rates, saying that his government wants to ensure that 99 per cent items attract sub-18 per cent GST slab. Also Read - India's Energy Future is Bright; Will Be Investor and Environment Friendly: PM Modi

“Today, the GST system has been established to a large extent and we are working towards a position where 99 per cent items will attract the sub-18 per cent GST slab,” Modi said. Also Read - PM Modi's Plan For Increasing Legal Marriage Age of Women Can Bring Enormous Gains: SBI Report

Currently there are 34 goods left in the highest tax bracket of 28 per cent. The list include commonly used items like ‘new pneumatic tyre of rubber’ (automobile tyre), digital camera, air conditioners, dish washing machine, set top box for TV, monitors and projectors as well as construction item like cement.

While a GST rate cut on cement to 18 per cent is likely to cost about Rs 20,000 crore annually to the exchequer, the Council is still likely to go ahead.

The meeting will be chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is expected to discusses the inclusion of Petrol and Diesel in the GST items, say other reports. The GST Council is likely to slash tax rates on automobile tyres to 18 per cent from 28 per cent currently, an official said.

The GST Council meeting is being held against the backdrop of lower than budgeted collection so far. The council may also discuss ways to increase collection and stop tax evasion.