Centre plays Santa for common man
Computer monitors, TV screens, video games, lithiumion power banks, retreaded tyres, wheelchairs and cinema tickets are among products and services set to get cheaper as they have been removed from the highest 28 per cent bracket under the Goods and Services Tax GST regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced on Saturday
New Delhi: Computer monitors, TV screens, video games, lithium-ion power banks, retreaded tyres, wheelchairs and cinema tickets are among products and services set to get cheaper as they have been removed from the highest 28 per cent bracket under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced on Saturday.
Among the items consumed by the common man, only cement continues to remain, along with luxury and 'sin' goods, in the 28 per cent bracket as the GST Council brought down the rates of all other categories of goods in a further rationalisation of rates that left only 28 items in the highest tax slab. A total of 17 items and six services have been reduced which will result in a revenue impact of Rs 5,500 crore for the full fiscal, Jaitley said, briefing reporters here after the 31st meeting of the Council.
"There are 28 items left in the 28 per cent bracket if we include 'luxury and sin items', and items used by economically well-off sections of society, only one item of common man's usage - cement - remains in the bracket," Jaitley said. Second-hand tyres, video games, monitors and television screens up to 32 inches, and lithium battery power banks will now attract 18 per cent GST. The GST on wheelchair accessories has been brought down to 5 per cent from the existing 28, which will also allow the payment of input tax credit that is not possible with zero tax, Jaitley said. Air-conditioners and dishwashers have been left untouched at the highest rate because these are not items of common use in India, he said. Nearly 1,250 goods and services have been categorised under the four tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent under the GST regime.
Cutting the rates on cement and automobile parts would mean a combined revenue loss of Rs 33,000 crore, which the Council felt is "too steep" to be considered at this juncture, Jaitley said. While the GST on third party motor vehicle insurance has been cut from 18 to 12 per cent, cinema tickets up to Rs 100 have also been granted a similar reduction. Movie tickets costing more that Rs 100 have been brought down from 28 to 18 per cent. "It's a mass entertainment medium and its revenue impact is about Rs 900 crore," the Finance Minister said on the reduced tax on movie tickets. GST on solar power generating plants and renewable energy items have also been reduced, he added. This major tax rationalisation ahead of the 2019 general elections comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently promised to bring 99 per cent the goods under the 18 per cent or lower GST slab.