GST Council to move items to 3% and 8% slabs
The GST Council at its next month meeting, is likely to consider a proposal to do away with the 5 percent slab by moving some goods of mass consumption to 3 percent and the remaining to 8 percent categories. Currently, GST is a four-tier structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent.
It is said that the 5 percent slab is expected to increase to either 7 or 8 or 9 percent. The Council is likely to settle for an 8 percent GST (Goods and Services Tax) for most items that currently attract 5 percent levy.
In addition, there is an exempt list of items like unbranded and unpacked food items which do not attract the levy. The Council may decide to cut down the list of exempted items by moving some of the non-food items to 3 percent slab to increase revenue.
As per calculations, every 1 percent increase in the 5 percent slab, which mainly includes packaged food items, would roughly yield an additional revenue of Rs 50,000 crore annually. Under GST, essential items are either exempted or taxed at the lowest rate while luxury and demerit items attract the highest tax.
The Council had last year set up a panel of state ministers, headed by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, to suggest ways to augment revenue by rationalising tax rates and correcting irregularity in the tax structure.
At the time of GST implementation on July 1, 2017, the Centre had agreed to compensate states for five years till June 2022 and protect their revenue at 14 percent per annum over the base year revenue of 2015-16.
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