23rd GST Council meet: 150 items to get cheaper

After getting sharp criticism from the Opposition over the ‘hasty’ implementation of Goods and Service Tax, 23rd GST council has brought down the list of 200 items that fall in the highest tax slab of 28%.

GST Council, which consists of state Finance Ministers and headed by Central Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has brought down the commodities of daily use like washing powder, aftershave cream, detergent, chocolate is likely to get cheaper.

“Lower 18% GST will be levied on chewing gums, chocolates, aftershave, deodorant, washing powder, detergent, marble,” Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Modi, who has attended the meeting, said.

“The GST Council has decided to keep only 50 items, mostly demerit, sin and luxury goods in top 28% bracket,” Modi added.

PM Modi led NDA government has come under the sharp criticism after Congress-led Opposition questioned the implementation of GST. Congress Vice-Rahul Gandhi has been relentlessly targeting PM Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and described GST as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.

“The Congress wanted to implement the Goods and Service Tax. But the PM Modi-led government at the Centre has imposed the Gabbar Singh Tax,” Rahul Gandhi said at an election rally in poll-bound Gujarat.

Under (GST) regime implemented from July, over 1,200 products and services have been fitted into one of the 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent tax slabs based on the principle of keeping the total tax incidence at almost the same level as previously as well as keeping revenue collections neutral.

Jaitley said some of the items should never have been in the 28 per cent slab and the GST Council in the last 3-4 meetings has slashed rates on over 100 items, thereby bringing them down either from 28 per cent to 18 per cent or from 18 per cent to 12 per cent.

“The whole idea is, as your revenue collections neutralise we must prune it and that’s the pattern in which the Council has so far been functioning. I see that as a future guide as far as the Council is concerned,” Jaitley said at event in New Delhi last week.

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