GST council flooded with requests to slash tax rates

Live mint By PTI Mon, Aug 14 2017. 05 07 PM IST

The GST Council has received requests for changes in tax rates on as many as 133 different products from an array of stakeholders, official sources said

Namkeen, bhujias and potato chips should attract 5% tax and not 12%, as per a demand put before the GST council. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: From helmets to granite slabs, hybrid cars to namkeen, the GST council is flooded with requests for tweaking tax rates on a variety of commodities.

The council, the highest policy-making body on the goods and services tax (GST), has received requests for changes in tax rates on as many as 133 different products from an array of stakeholders, official sources said. India moved to a GST regime on 1 July after the council fixed over 1,200 products in four tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28%. However, some are not happy with the brackets and have sought changes, sources said.

These include slashing GST on IT products to 12% from 18% as it provides huge employment to skilled persons. On IT hardware, a tax cut from 28% to 18% has been sought. GST on helmets has been sought to be cut from 18% to 5%, on textiles to nil from 5%, on tractors to 5% from 12 per cent and on granite slabs to 18% from 28 per cent currently.

Namkeen, bhujias and potato chips should attract 5% tax and not 12%, as per a demand put before the council. Tax cuts have also been sought on sweetmeats, kulfi, wet dates, Isabgol, and a variety of sugar confectioneries like peanut chikki. Moreover, a request has been made for a cut in tax on macaroni/ pasta/noodles to 5% from 18% as vermicelli is taxed at 5% and there should be uniform tax on all products manufactured through the same set of machines and equipment.

A demand has been made to cut tax rate on packaged drinking water sold in small pouches and refill cans with a 20 litre capacity to nil from the present 18% as GST implementation has seen a sudden rise in their prices. Also, tax on hair pins, LPG stoves, umbrellas, writing instruments, wet grinders, weighing machines compressors, textile machinery parts, chewing tobacco, multi-function printers and handmade carpets comes under the reduction category. GST on chutney power has been sought at 12% from 18% and on pickle to 5% from 12%.

On motorcycles with an engine capacity of more than 350cc and up to 500cc, the 3% cess on top of the 28% tax rate has been sought to be removed as such vehicles are used for commuting. Also, only Royal Enfield makes vehicles of 350cc and above and fulfils the ambition of “Make in India”. A demand has been made to reduce cess on hybrid cars to 3% from 15% currently. The cess is levied on top of the total tax rate of 28%. The reason behind the demand is that these cars are environment-friendly and are required to be encouraged.

GST on sanitary pads has been sought to be nil from 12%. Sources said that the GST council refers some of the tax change requests to the fitment committee to see if there is any merit in the demands and upon recommendation of the committee takes up for approval any changes. GST on dried fish has been sought to be cut to nil from 5%, on plastic scrap to nil from 18%, on fishing nets to 5% from 12%, on furniture to 12-18% from the current 28%. The requests also include cutting 12% tax on agriculture implements to nil or maximum 5%, on raw granite to 5% from 12% and on finished granite to 12% from 28%.

A nil duty has been sought for fly-ash and fly-ash bricks from the current 18% and 12% respectively, to popularize the use of the otherwise environmental pollutant. To help cut reliance on imported oil, duty on bio-diesel or bio fuel extracted from non-edible oilseeds has been sought to be cut to nil or 5% from the current 18%.

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