Mumbai - The GST council is likely to take up the cruise shipping industry's long-pending demand of waiver from the indirect tax at its next meeting, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said here.
At present, the nascent cruise shipping industry is charged 18% Goods and Services Tax (GST). Lobbying for a waiver, the industry is citing the global norm of exemption from domestic taxes.
"We've had discussions with the Finance Ministry about the GST. The GST council is likely to take it up at its next meeting," Gadkari, the minister for shipping, ports and logistics, said at an industry event here late this evening.
The ministry is investing hundreds of crores of rupees for upgrading facilities and terminals at ports so that they can cater to cruise tourists, Gadkari said.
With Mumbai as the biggest hub, it has identified five other ports including Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi and Chennai, where the investments are being made, he said.
The minister said the country is targeting multi-fold increase in number of cruise tourists to 1 crore in the next three years including rivers and sea, against the 1.65 lakh last fiscal.
He said there is a tremendous potential for cruise tourism and also suggested that operators should explore the idea of having a Mumbai-Visakhapatnam-Andaman Islands-Bali cruise.
Gadkari said the sector has tremendous employment potential as well, with one job being created for every four tourists who arrive, and added that one crore guests will lead to creation of 25 lakh new jobs.
Mumbai Port is sourcing debris and earth from Metro construction for landfill to build the world's biggest garden on the eastern waterfront of the city, he said.
The minister, who also oversees Ganga rejuvenation project, said nearly 80 per cent of the river, plagued with pollution and filth, will be clean by March 2019.
He said the construction of a new terminal at the Bhaucha Dhakka wharf here to transport passengers and vehicles across the creek is complete, but his ministry is waiting for the ongoing "shraadh" period (which is considered inauspicious) to get over on October 8 before inaugurating it.