Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the 21st GST Council meeting in Hyderabad on Sept 9, 2017. Also seen Union MoS Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian.IANSWith less than 15 days before the Union Budget 2018 is presented, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council plans to cut rates on as many as 70 items in its next meeting, reported Business Standard.It is also learnt that the council can amend rules to simplify filing of GST returns and also plug some existing loopholes in the system.”Around 40-50 services will be taken up for a rate revision in the council meeting. These are services that were earlier exempt but were taxed under the GST regime. They are facing issues,” a government official told the business daily.After the implementation of GST, the Union Finance Ministry has no discretionary capacity to bring in changes in indirect taxes; GST council has been given the exclusive authority in terms of indirect taxes.The official further said the council is likely to prune the rates for agriculture implements — a move to boost agricultural sector, which is reeling under pressure.Earlier this week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the agriculture sector would be given the top priority by the government in Union Budget 2018.”Among the priority areas, the agriculture sector is on top. Ensuring the benefits reaches the agri-sector and growth is visible — this is among the priority areas for us,” Jaitley said.The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 18. This is the last council meeting before the finance minister presents the Union Budget on February 1.”Agriculture implements that are currently taxed up to 18 percent may come under the 12-percent or the 5-percent bracket,” the official said.He added that the council may bring in some change in tax rates of bio-diesel buses. Currently, bio-diesel buses attract the highest slab of GST, i.e. 28 percent, which may be revised downward.On the services front, job works may be allowed as part of the composition scheme, which will imply a flat rate of tax and easier compliance, reported BS.”Currently, only a few services such as housekeeping, carpentry, etc., are subject to 18 percent GST, if provided through an e-commerce platform, without the benefit of the threshold limit of Rs 20 lakh. We are expecting the rate to be reduced to 5 percent in such cases. Many job work services could also come under lower rate,” the business daily quoted Pratik Jain, partner, PwC India, as saying.
2 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. UPDATE: The launch has been postponed — again. SpaceX says it is now scheduled for Wednesday, February 11, at 6:03 p.m. ET.Trailblazing tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has something to prove. Earlier this month, Musk’s SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket and attempted to land it on a floating platform in the Atlantic ocean. The 14-story-tall rocket took off without a hitch, but it botched its landing, bouncing off the deck of the barge.”Close, but no cigar,” is how Musk described the failed landing. And for any entrepreneur worth his salt, “close” simply isn’t good enough.SpaceX will try again today. At 6:10 p.m. EST, a new Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Like last time, the rocket will soar up into space, then use GPS tracking to land itself smoothly on the platform.In case you’re not familiar, SpaceX is a company Musk founded in 2002 to “revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”Related: Google, Fidelity Invest $1 Billion in SpaceX to Spread Internet Access Across the GlobeIn addition to launching and hopefully landing the rocket, it will carry the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “Deep Space Climate Observatory.” The instrument will detach once the pair reach space. It will be used to monitor solar winds generated by the sun that can cause disruption of telecommunications and GPS on Earth.You can watch the launch event right here at 6:10 p.m.:Related: Elon Musk to Build ‘Hyperloop’ Track, Likely in Texas Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now » February 8, 2015