DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday ruled out a single tax rate under the GST, saying a Mercedes car and milk cannot be taxed at the same rate and accepting the Congress’ demand for a uniform 18 per cent rate would lead to a spike in cost of food and essential items.
Modi said the Goods and Services Tax has within a year of its launch led to an over 70 per cent jump in indirect taxpayer base, demolished check-posts and merged 17 taxes and 23 cesses into one single tax.
Meanwhile, hailing the GST rollout in India in its first year as one of the smoothest in the world, Union Minister Arun Jaitley held out hope for consumers by indicating removal of products from the 28 per cent slab and rationalisation of slabs, subject to improvement in the GST collections.
The Modi government’s narrative to mark the first anniversary of GST Day was to strike a reconciliatory tone by profusely thanking the states and the political parties for the GST rollout success, thereby invoking “collaborative and cooperative federalism”.
Addressing the GST Day event via video link, Jaitley indicated that as the GST collections improve, many more items from the 28 per cent category can possibly come down. “Only sin products and luxury goods can remain there,” he said.
He also indicated rationalisation or reduction of GST slabs which would lower the rates on goods, and more products being brought into the GST, as sought by industry chambers. On the occasion, the government released figures showing buoyancy in GST collections.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said that Dr Ambedkar stitched the nation through one Constitution, Sardar Patel bonded the fragmented nation geographically, now the landmark GST has transformed the nation into an economic union with the motto “one nation, one tax, one market”.
Calling GST a success, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the tax reform has hardly had any adverse impact on inflation and revenue collection, and GST has stabilised within a short period of one year. — PTI