Ahead of polls, GST rates retweaked to woo voters

Rates on 23 items cut; TVs, cameras to become cheaper.

New Delhi: The GST Council on Saturday announced yet another revision of rates on 23 goods and services, likely to be applicable from January 1. Even then, the council did not avoid levying different tax rates on the same commodity One example was the GST rate on cinema tickets.

The tax on cinema tickets costing more than Rs 100 will be reduced from 28 per cent to 18 per cent, and from 18 per cent to 12 per cent on those costing less than Rs 100.

In an indication of more tweaks to come, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said earlier this week that the government wanted to ensure that 99 per cent items would be kept at a GST slab of 18 per cent or less. The 31st meeting of Goods and Services Tax Council decided to reduce rates on 17 goods and six services categories which will result in revenue loss of Rs 5,500 crore.

During the council meeting representatives from some Opposition states initially opposed a cut in GST rates at the current juncture due to its revenue implications.

Out of the 35 items in top 28 per cent tax category, GST Council decided to reduce tax on six to 18 per cent including monitors and TVs (up to screen size of 32 inches), power banks, digital cameras, video camera recorders and video game consoles among others.

GST on parts and accessories for the carriages for disabled persons was cut from 28 per cent to 5 per cent. Now only 28 goods are left in the highest 28 per cent tax bracket.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said that tax on cement and auto part was not reduced from current 28 per cent to 18 per cent as it would have an impact of Rs 33,000 crore on the revenue.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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