FM Harish: Exempt minor irrigation from GST

Harish Rao with CS

Rama Krishna Sangem

Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao has asked for exempting minor irrigation tanks from the purview of GST (Goods and Services Tax). He made this proposal to the Centre at the 48th meeting of GST Council, consisting of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam and all states finance ministers on December 17, Saturday. Harish Rao participated in this meeting through online.  Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar was with Harish Rao.

Every GST Council meeting discusses exemptions or additions of certain items to the GST besides making changes to the tax slabs. This is the empowered body under  the GST Act which came into effort across India from July 1, 2017. Harish from his side, argued that around 46,000 water bodies including tanks and ponds in Telangana are irrigating around 25 lakh acres of land. These water bodies come under minor irrigation department.

“Please exempt the expenditure incurred on their tanks and pond for their annual maintenance and repairs. Government regularly does these repairs so that the management of these tanks would be effective and benefit farmers. We have to exempt the GST on the expenditure of maintenance and repairs of these small water bodies,” Harish Rao suggested to the Council. Most of the beneficiaries are small and marginal farmers.

Harish also urged the Centre to exempt customized milling and transport services of food grains meant for the Public Distribution System (PDS).  Again, the PDS is aimed at serving the poor and weaker sections families. Already subsidized PDS is being burdened by GST, the minister pointed out. These two suggestions of FM Harish Rao were referred to the GST fitment committee.

Harish Rao strongly argued for waiver of GST, at 18 per cent on the beedi leaves. “Beedis are consumed by poor and tribal areas people who cannot afford to spend more on them. At the same, this beedi making provides employment to a large number of women in rural areas. As already the Centre has imposed a 28 per cent GST on beedis, there is a need to waive tax on beedi leaves,” said he minister.

Telangana Commercial Taxes Commissioner Neetu Prasad and other officials too took part in this virtual meeting from BRK Bhavan, make shift Secretariat of Telangana, in Hyderabad.



Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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