Amid clamour from the auto industry for a GST rate cut, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Friday asked players in the sector to also take up the matter with state finance ministers who are part of the GST Council, and assured all support from the Centre. Automobile and component manufacturers have been seeking GST cut on automobiles to 18 per cent from 28 per cent to help the sector come out of a prolonged slump that has resulted in job losses. "You are aware that any rate cut on GST needs to be approved first by the fitment committee then by the GST Council. I request all of you to also reach out to the state finance ministers who are part of the GST Council," Thakur said while speaking here at the annual convention of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association.
He said the finance ministry has received multiple representations from car manufacturers, dealers and many of the stakeholders regarding the GST rate cut. "Various OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are based out of various parts of the country. The issue is whether they (the manufacturers) taking these issues with their finance ministers or not," Thakur later said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines. He said state finance ministers should be equally aware of the challenges faced by the OEMs or the automobile manufacturers.
"Our humble request is to apprise them also so that whenever this issue is discussed in the GST Council meeting, everyone should have their viewpoint," he added. Thakur had reminded the gathering that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has already suggested in the last meeting that the Centre was open to taking it to the GST Council for deliberation, and most of the decisions were unanimous in the previous GST Council meeting. The next GST Council meeting will be held on September 20 in Goa. Thakur said the government has already come out with a slew of measures to address challenges faced by the auto industry.
"So, that is the priority our government is giving to this industry. Let me assure you we stand by you at this juncture and we will be there to listen to your challenges as we know you are going to play the most important role in making India a USD 5-trillion economy by 2024-25," he said. The government will consider various measures including the scrappage policy and we are working closely on that as per the demand of the industry, he added. "This industry is going to do well.... (instead of) looking at this as a challenge, we will take it as an opportunity and be among the top three countries in automobiles in the world," he said adding that the companies "can do it... whatever decisions we have to take, we will take."