Guwahati: The 23rd meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council saw 178 daily-use items in the highest 28 per cent slab being moved to lower tax slabs.
The meeting is being chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Assam’s capital Guwahati.
“GST Council decides to keep only 50 items, mostly demerit, sin and luxury goods in top 28 per cent bracket,” said Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and member of the Council, Sushil Modi.
According to Sushil Modi, a lower 18 per cent GST will be levied on chewing gums, chocolates, after shave, deodorant, washing power, detergent and marble.
Paints and cement have been retained in the 28 per cent tax bracket, he said.
Luxury goods like washing machines and air conditioners have been retained at 28 per cent.
According to PTI, this decision will have a revenue implication of Rs 20,000 crore annually. "There is consensus that slowly 28 per cent slab should be brought to 18 per cent. But it will take some time because it has a big revenue implication," said Modi.
A major tax overhaul of over 200 items in the top slab had been expected. After Friday’s decision, only 50 of the 228 items shall remain in highest GST slab. The tax rates on the rest have been slashed.
Earlier in the day, Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had tweeted that he was hopeful of a "shower of changes in GST rates" in lieu of the council meeting. “Panic-stricken government has no option but to concede demands for change," said Chidambaram on the social media website.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the head of the group of ministers whose recommendations are being deliberated upon, said, “GST meeting will be path breaking, many crucial decisions in favor of traders, manufactures and consumers will be taken.