New Delhi: Amid expectations of a review of tax rates and slabs under GST, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday chaired the 38th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Meeting. Notably, the GST Council, for the first time since its constitution, voted in favour of single rate on lotteries, stated Rajasthan Minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal on Wednesday.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Revenue Secretary AB Pandey said, “It has been decided to levy single rate of Goods and Services Tax (GST) that is 28% on both state run and state authorized lottery. The new rate shall be effective from 1st March 2020.”

When asked the reasons for deviating from the tradition of not voting in council, the Finance Minister asserted that traditions are not part of the rulebook. Nirmala Sitharaman, as quoted by news agency ANI, said, “Every attempt was made to keep tradition alive but eventually council was reminded that tradition was not part of rulebook. It was not imposed by council or me but on a request from a member.”

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday expressed concern over the issues of inflation and stagnation plaguing the Indian economy. Speaking at the GST council meeting, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra told news agency ANI, “There is stagflation, which means inflation along with stagnation. It is knocking at our door. This has never happened in history of India. We are very concerned that next budget will not be able to address it.”

The last GST Council meeting was conducted in Goa on September 20, 2019 when many important decisions were taken including new GST exemptions and making Aadhaar mandatory for registration of taxpayers under GST. The Council had also recommended relaxation in the filing of annual returns for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for Financial Year 2017-18 and Financial Year 2018-19.

(With inputs from ANI)