Wood for chariots, idols of deities exempted from GST

Bhubaneswar: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council today exempted wood meant for construction of idols and chariots of deities under the GST regime.

Speaking to media after the GST Council meeting at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, Odisha Finance Minister, Sashi Bhusan Behera said “After a while, the council has finally approved our demands to reduce GST on woods like Sal, Siali, Khali and Sabai Ghasa from 5 percent to nil. The most important matter is that the wood used in construction of chariots and idols of the holy Trinity of Puri Srimandir have been exempted from the tax,” he said.

“Sanitary napkins which were being supplied to women under the Khusi scheme and earlier taxed at 12 percent, have also been put under the exempted category while Handicraft items which were earlier taxed at 18 percent have been put in 12 percent tax slab. Since the state government does not collect taxes from handicraftsmen especially smiths, we have proposed before the fitment committee that the category should be completely exempted and in the next meeting on August 4, a detailed deliberation will be undertaken on the proposal,” Behera said.

It is to be noted that besides sanitary pads and wood, the council today also exempted Raakhis (without any precious metals), raw materials for brooms, commemorative coins circulated by RBI and fortified milk from GST. Similarly, items like handloom dari and fertiliser-grade phosphoric acid have been brought down from 12 to 5 percent tax slab.

Similarly, big rate cuts of 10 percent have been effected for as many as 15 items including cosmetics, refrigerators, paints etc.

The new rates will come into effect from July 27.