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Tourism to get a fillip: Sitharaman

Panaji: It is the first meeting in Goa and also one of the longest one, but the most productive, said the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman soon after conclusion of the 37th meeting of the GST Council on Friday.

The marathon meeting started at 11 am in the morning and ended after eight pm and lasted for more than nine hours. Sitharaman said that the meeting was productive as it resolved several pending issues.

“Most of the recommendations made by the fitment committee have been accepted and we can happily say that here in Goa many of our decisions are taken with the broader purpose of promoting tourism,” said the finance minister as she revealed lower GST rates on hotel services.

She lauded the state officials for pushing forward the cause of the local tourism industry. The finance minister also indicated positive news on mining industry, as she said that more frequent meetings of the group of ministers (GOM) on their mandated topics is in the offing.

Earlier during the day while announcing corporate tax rate cuts, the finance minister had said that the GOM formed for Goa’s mining industry would soon meet.

The finance minister addressed the media with along with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Mauvin Godinho, Minister on the GST Council sitting by her side. She disclosed that presentations made by states were extensive and lasted until 2 pm. The Council meeting also included a presentation by the 15th finance commission chairperson NK Singh.

The GST Council meeting started with respects paid to the former finance minister Arun Jaitley whose contribution to making GST possible is “invaluable”, said the finance minister. Jaitley chaired 35 of the 37 GST council meetings, pointed out Sitharaman.

Expressing his satisfaction at the outcome of the GST Council meeting in the state, the Chief Minister said that the decision to lower tax rate from 28 per cent to 18 per cent on hotels with a room tariff of above Rs 7,500 per night would benefit the local hospitality industry immensely.

All finance ministers of various states, the GST commissioners, officials from the Ministry of Finance were present in full strength for the GST Council meeting.

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