Gradual Reduction In GST Rates To Strengthen Tax Regime, Says Industry Body

Reduction is aimed at appealing to traders and middle class

The council cut tax rates on six items from the highest tax rate of 28% to 18% and on one item - wheelchairs and parts - to 5%. "Accessories for carriages for specially abled persons have been brought down to 5%", the FM said while addressing a press briefing.

"Monitors and television screens, tyres, power banks of Lithium-ion batteries have been brought down from 28% to 18% slab". Tickets costing above Rs 100 will be taxed at 18% instead of 28%.

Listing out other decisions of the GST Council, the Jaitley said the services supplied by the banks to Jan-Dhan account holders have been exempted from GST.

"This will help the industry move forward positively with increased investments in both exhibition infrastructure and creative development, enabling even better cinema and greater screen density across the country". Currently, these products are under the 28% tax slab and it is an expectation that they might come under the 18% slab.

The Finance Ministry has time and again asked real estate dealers to pass on GST rate cut benefits to buyers, but to no avail. The rate rationalisation comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday indicated that the 28 per cent slab of GST would only be restricted to a few select items, such as luxury and sin goods and said his government wants to ensure that '99 per cent items attract 18 per cent or lower GST. He added that the industry was also hoping for a GST rate reduction on air-conditioners.

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The GST Council is likely to consider lowering GST on under-construction flats and houses to 5% in its meeting next month, an official said. "States were compensated Rs 48,000 crore for the losses incurred due to GST", the finance minister said.

The 31st GST Council meeting also approved a proposal to form a 7-Member Group of Ministers (GoM) to study the revenue trend, including analysing the reasons for structural patterns affecting the revenue collection in some of the states.

The GST Council has also chose to set up a centralised Authority for Advance Ruling to hear those cases in which two divergent verdicts have been passed by AARs of two different states. Jaitley said, a reduction in GST rates on Cement would cost Rs 13,000 crore. Except for 34 items, all other will come down to 18% and below, " Narayanasamy said.

"The GST council has followed a pragmatic policy by bringing down the rates gradually, taking into consideration the revenue realisation and affordability, and this will stabilise and strengthen GST further", a Ficci statement quoted Somany as saying.

"The reduction in GST rates announced would certainly bring economic benefits inter-alia political interpretations".

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