Hyderabad: Industries and IT minister K.T. Rama Rao on Sunday asked the GST Council at its meeting in New Delhi on Sunday to spare drinking water and irrigation projects. He also sought lower GST ates for social housing and textile sectors, granite and bidi industries.
Mr Rao told Union finance minister Arun Jaitley about the Rs 43.000-crore Mission Bhagiratha to provide drinking water through taps to every household, and said imposing higher GST on on pipelines, equipment and machinery used in the project would jack up the cost and affect its completion.
This project was being taken up in the larger interests of the people and the Centre should exempt it from GST, he urged.
He expressed concern that the higher GST on irrigation projects. The state had taken up Rs 1.5 lakh crore worth of projects to irrigate 1 crore acres. “These projects are aimed at providing a permanent solution to drought and drinking water problem and boost the income of farmers by providing better irrigation all through the year. Imposing higher GST rates will increase project costs manifold," Mr Rao said.
He said nearly 8 lakh workers are dependent on the bidi industry for their livelihood in the state and higher GST on the industry would adversely affect them.
Mr Rao told the Council that the government was was constructing 2.7 lakh two-bedroom houses for the poor at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore, and sought exemption for this scheme.
He said the higher GST on textile sector and granite industry would lead to closure of units affecting the livelihood of over 10 lakh people working in these sectors.