Goods and Services Tax: Boon or Curse for India

Author: Suhasini Singh

As we all know Goods and Services Tax is going to be imposed on all Indians from July 1,2017 as single tax all over the country. GST is a comprehensive indirect tax on manufactures, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India to replace taxes levied by the central and state governments.

The reform process in indirect tax regime of India was started in 1986 by Vishwanath Prasad Singh by introduction of Modified Value Added Tax (MODVAT). The Constitution Act 2016, following the passage of Constitution 101st Amendment Bill. The GST is governed by GST council and is headed by Union Finance Minister of India- Arun Jaitley.

Introduction of GST is a significant step in reform of indirect taxation in India. Combining several central and state taxes into single tax would mitigate cascading or double taxation, facilating a common national market. The following taxes will be bound together by the GST: Central excise duty, Service tax, Countervailing duty, Special countervailing duty, Value Added Tax (VAT), Central sales tax (CST), Octroi, Entertainment tax, entry tax, purchase tax, luxury tax, advertisement tax and taxes applicable on lotteries. The government is going to remove all the taxes and impose only one tax GST and it has no variations across the country.

The government has divided the tax categories into four i.e. 5%, 12%, 18%, 28% and some items are non taxable also.

No Tax:

No tax will be imposed on items like fresh meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, butter milk, curd, natural honey, fruits and vegetables, flour, bread, salt, bindi, sindoor, stamps, printed books, newspaper, Bangles, handlooms etc. Some services like hotels and lodges with tariff below Rs 1000 are also considered in no tax category.

5%:

Items such as fish fillet, cream, skimmed milk powder, branded paneer, frozen vegetables, coffee, tea, spices, pizza, bread, kerosene, coal, medicines, lifeboats. Services like transport services, small restaurant will be under this category.

12%:

Frozen meat products, butter, dry fruits in packaged form,animal fat, sausage, fruit juices, namkeen, Ayurvedic medicine, tooth powder, umbrella, cellphone. Services like Non-Ac hotels, business class air ticket, fertilizer, work contract fall in this category.

18%:

This includes flavoured refined sugar, pasta, cornflakes, pastries, cakes, preserved vegetables, jam, sauces, soups, ice cream, mineral water, envelopes, notebooks, printed circuit, camera, speakers and monitor. Services like AC hotels that serve liquor, telecom services,IT services, branded garments and financial services.

28%:

Chewing gum, molasses, chocolate containing cocoa, waffles and wafer coated with chocolate,paint, deodorant, shaving cream, shampoo, dye, sunscreen, wallpaper, heater, weighing machine, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, automobile, motorcycle, aircraft for personal use are the costliest services like 5 star hotels, race club betting, cinema is considered in this category.

GST is mainly boon for common individual of India as regular items are considered as non taxable and many items are in 5% and 12% category of which we are giving 14-18% tax without GST. But electronic appliances become costly also so for some industry GST is a curse. As said by someone that we should encourage new step and as GST is good and new step for betterment of middle and lower class individuals and for economic state of India.

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