The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council at its 16th meeting here on Sunday revised the rates of 66 items out of the 133 for which representations had been received seeking change from the fitments originally made in the four-slab indirect tax structure, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
Following the 15th meeting of the council here earlier this month, held to decide on the six remaining items -- including gold and beedi -- from the Srinagar meeting which had decided upon 1,211 items, Jaitley had said that a committee of officers would examine rate adjustments, if any, based on the representations received from different trade and industry associations. Their recommendations were taken up by the council on Sunday.
"The 133 representations received were considered at length and the officers' committee made their recommendations... the council has reduced tax in 66 out of the 133 cases," Jaitley, who heads the council, told reporters here following the meeting.
The Minister explained that the cases for reduction had been considered keeping two objectives in mind.
"One was to maintain equivalence to the existing taxes, and in some other cases the fitment had breached this equivalence principle. In others, the reduction is required because of the changing nature of the economy and changes that have occurred in consumer preference," he said.
Elaborating on some of the reductions, Jaitley said the tax on cashew has been cut from 12 to 5 per cent. Packaged foods like food and vegetable products such as pickles, chutnies, ketchup and instant food mixes, among others, which historically were taxed at 18 per cent, are going to be taxed at 12 per cent as these are items used by common people, he said.
Tax on cutlery will come down from 18 to 12 per cent, while computer printers will be lowered from 28 to 18 per cent. Insulin and agarbatti will go down from 12 to 5 per cent.Among other goods, Jaitley said school bags have been lowered from 28 to 18 per cent, while exercise books will come down from 18 to 12 per cent.
All goods and services under the pan-India GST regime, which will subsume the existing multiple central and state levies, have been categorised in four tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, besides those items that attract zero tax.
On Entertainment Tax, Jaitley said that following representations from the film industry, the GST Council has decided on a two-slab structure for cinema tickets, whereby those costing less than Rs 100 would be taxed less at 18 per cent, while those above will attract tax of 28 per cent.
In order to encourage job work outsourcing in sectors like diamond, leather, textiles, jewellery and printing, where workers take the work home, the GST rate has been reduced to 5 per cent.
Besides, traders, manufacturers and restaurants with turnover of up to Rs 75 lakh can avail themselves of the composition scheme, against Rs 50 lakh earlier, Jaitley said.
He also said that the lottery and e-way bill are two specific issues that will be taken up at the next meeting of the council here on June 18.
E-way bill is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the GST Network (GSTN) portal. Movement of goods of more than Rs 50,000 in value cannot be made by a registered person without an e-way bill.