The government has started its media campaign to tell the common man that the impending shift to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime will reduce prices of most goods. The GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising his state counterparts, has already decided on tax rates of majority of the commodities. They have been put in slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28%, with the exception of gold which will attract 3% cess under the GST.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in advertisements in leading dailies gave pictorial representations of items which are exempt from Goods and Services Tax and the ones which would attract a lower tax of 5%.
“81% of the items to fall in/below 18% slab. Only 19% of the goods will attract GST above 18%,” the CBEC said.
In an interview, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had said, “Because we have taken care to ensure that the average tax incidence on commodities does not go up. There may be some traders who will try to tell the consumers that under the changed GST rates they will have to pay more. We have to educate them.”
Items like tea, sugar, coffee beans, edible oil, packed paneer, milk powder, brooms, domestic LPG and kerosene have been put in the 5 percent bracket. Butter, ghee, mobiles, cashew, agarbatti, umbrella, fruit juice and sausages placed in 12% slab.
Hair oil, soaps, jams, soups, ice cream, capital goods and computers will attract a 18% levy. Custard powder, shampoo, perfume, make up items, chewing gum, motorcycle, cement and consumer durables are placed in the 28% slab.
The GST Council yesterday decided to include rudraksh, wooden khadau, panchamrit, tulsi-kanthi mala, panchgavya, sacred thread and vibhuti, chandan tika, unbranded honey and wick for diya sold by religious institutions in the definition of 'puja samagri' and maintained that these items would be exempt under the Goods and Services Tax (GST). However, five 'puja samagri' -- lobhan, mishri, batasha and bura -- will attract 5 percent GST.
Khadi yarn, Gandhi topi, India's national flag will not attract any tax under the GST regime, while imitation jewellery, pearls and coins will carry 3 per cent levy from the next month.
In the textiles category, blankets and travelling rugs, curtains, bed linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen, of terry towelling or similar terry fabrics costing below Rs 1,000 will attract a 5% tax. Napkins, mosquito nets, sacks and bags, life jackets costing below Rs 1,000 would be taxed at 5% and those costing above Rs 1,000 will attract a 12 percent levy.
Manmade fibres will, however, attract 18 percent rate. Manmade apparel costing below Rs 1,000 will attract 5 percent tax, lower than the existing 7 percent. Those costing above Rs 1,000 will continue to attract 12 percent.
GST, which will subsume 16 different levies, will be rolled out from July 1.