New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday headed her first meeting of the GST Council where the decision to extend the last date for filing of annual returns was extended by two months to August 30.

Addressing the media later, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey spoke about the outcome of the meeting. He said, “One of the major changes that we’ve made is for the ease of GST registration. In the earlier system, people had to give various documents. Now we have decided to use Aadhaar. By using Aadhaar, several advantages will occur to the business.”

Explaining the process, he said, “The person who is applying can go online, using his Aadhaar number through OTP authentication he can register himself on the GSTN portal and get a GSTN registration number.”

Apart from this, several other significant changes made over the past few months were approved by the council. Pandey said, “GST registration limit threshold limit was raised from Rs 20 Lakh to Rs 40 Lakh. Earlier, it was done through a notification and now, appropriate changes have been made in the laws.”

He said that dealers with a turnover of up to Rs 5 crore will be filing quarterly returns and those with a turnover of above Rs 5 crore will be filing monthly returns. “Composition scheme for service providers, a decision which was taken in GST Council a few months back and done through a notification will be made a part of the law.”

Speaking about the extension of the last date of filing of annual returns, Pandey said, “The last day for filing of annual returns was June 30, 2019, we had received representations from trade and business that they need more time as they’ll be filing returns for the first time. The GST Council has extended the date. So now they’ll be filed by August 30, 2019.

Before Pandey, Minister Sitharaman had told the media, “We had all states, represented by ministers, except Karnataka, Mizoram & Telangana. I had spoken to all the three Chief Ministers last evening. They very clearly said because of their predetermined commitments…for instance in Mizoram budget session of the Assembly is going on, Karnataka – because of the drought situation the CM had to go to drought-affected northern districts of the state.

She also pointed out that the day was an important one for Telangana “because a long-awaited irrigation project of Kaleshwaram was on where Maharashtra and Andhra CM were also participating. These three states sent their representatives.”