Goods and Services Tax Bill

Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Haseeb Drabu. The next GST Council meeting will be held Srinagar on Thursday

In April, the Lok Sabha had passed Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

The GST Council had earlier agreed on a four-tier tax structure - 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent - along with a cess on luxury and demerit goods such as tobacco, pan masala and aerated drinks.

The GST rates for all 1,211 items but six were finalised at the first day of the two-day meeting in Srinagar of the GST Council, headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state representatives.

As widely reported, essential items have either been kept out of the purview of the tax or assigned the lowest rate.

The complete details will be available in the public domain after the said meeting concludes on Friday. Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said 81 per cent of the goods will attract tax equal to or lower than 18 per cent.

Jaitley assured the state government that the centre will extend all possible help in restructuring the GST implementation for Jammu and Kashmir while respecting the special status of the state.

The remaining 2o per cent items such as motor vehicles, beedi, coconut oil etc., will be looked upon in the GST council meeting that Is to follow over next two days.

He said the common people would have many benefits of the GST because it would decrease the cascading effect of taxes.

On gold, states demanded a 4% tax even though the rate is not among the 5, 12, 18 and 28% approved bands. "Accordingly, while food stuff and unprocessed basic items like tea, coffee and edible oil may become cheaper, a large number of items which will be under 28% bracket would become costlier" company quoted him as saying.

The tax rates will be decided in a fashion to keep their impact on inflation as well as revenues to the government near neutral.

"Cereals will be in exempt list".

The complete details of the rates decided are likely to be available once the meeting gets over tomorrow. "We are yet to make a decision on that", he said. There is no increase. As per our estimate, we will have Rs 1500 to 2000 crore profit in tax revenue.

"Tax incidence on none of the commodities will go up and in fact there is a reduction in case of many as tax on tax has gone", Jaitley, who is also the council chairman, told reporters on Thursday.

Jaitley said that while the overall basket of taxes will see a reduction, he hoped for greater tax buoyancy because of greater efficiency and less tax evasion.

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