Hyderabad: Over 160 years after the Central Board of Excise and Customs was established by George Robinson, the General Budget in India would not impact the prices of most goods and services.
“After setting up of the Goods and Services Tax Council, most of goods and services, barring a few, are not under the jurisdiction of parliament,” said Dr Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist and director, public finance, India Ratings and Research, told this newspaper.
With a minuscule minority paying income-tax, the government had routinely used indirect taxes like excise duty (from 1855) and services tax (from 1990s) to raise revenue.
In July 2017, all state governments and Central government have transferred their power to levy VAT, excise and service tax to the GST Council.
In this aspect, Mr Sinha said the Budget this time would be “less exciting as people can’t expect prices of electronic items or vehicles going up or down or eating out getting costly or cheaper.”
Petroleum products like petrol and diesel and customs duties still come under the jurisdiction of Parliament, said economist Devendra Pant. While most goods and services are under GST, Mr Pant said proposals relating to fuel prices and customs too can influence prices.
According to Vinay Saboo, the MD of Maruti Suzuki dealership Saboo Motors, there used to be a lot of buzz around the Budget previously as people used to expect an increase or decrease in prices. This time, however, he said there is no such activity to be seen.
Even for corporates, Mr Sinha added the Budget would not have the impact that it previously had in the absence of tax proposals influencing prices of a majority of goods and services.