Edited by Dev Goswami
New Delhi, November 10, 2017
"Thank you Gujarat. Your elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do," Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram tweeted after the government massively cut the list of items attracting the highest 28 per cent rate under the GST regime. While the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced reduction in GST cutting the number of items attracting 28 per cent tax rate to just 50 items from 228 previously. Yeet there are huge anomalies. While GST on eating out has been brought down from 18 and 12 per cent to 5 per cent, cement and paints which are of daily necessity, still remain in the 28 per cent bracket. This will defeat the purpose of low-cost housing. Also there was a huge debate last night on Mirror Now Channel on the centre's cold response to the demand for a relook at GST on sanitary napkins. The debate was on the Government turning a deaf ear to the appeal of millions of women by treating sanitary napkins as a taxable item that too in the second slab of 12%. The eminent participants in the debate said that by imposing 12% GST on a basic commodity like Sanitary Napkins that women biologically need to use worldwide, the government was contradicting its stated slogan "Beti Parao, Beti Bachaaon." The panelists said that many girls drop out of school for lack of access to hygienic sanitary napkins.
Earlier on 18th July 2017, the Delhi High Court had sought response of the Centre on a plea against imposition of 12 per cent GST on sanitary napkins. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also issued notices to the Finance Ministry and the Goods and Services Tax Council directing them to file their counter in the matter. The bench was of the view that the issue needs to be examined, therefore, the authorities need to justify their stand in their counter affidavit.
The petition said that the government had exempted goods like kajal, kumkum, bindis, sindur, alta, plastic and glass bangles, hearing aids, passenger baggage, puja samagri of all kinds, and all types of contraceptives, including condoms, from the purview of taxation but not extended the exemption to sanitary napkins which are essential for the health of women. The court has fixed the matter for hearing on November 15.
The composition of GST Council clearly proves that it is very necessary to include women on taxation decision-making boards where men rule the roost and take decisions without any knowledge of women's issues. Isaac Gomes, Asso. Editor, Church Citizens' Voice.
Faye D' Souza, Editor of Mirror Now – News channel- we cover policy not politics. Not afraid to be called a Feminist!
Former Finance Minster P Chidambaram in a late-night sarcastic tweet said the Modi government had "learnt its lesson belatedly" and that the Congress and he stood "vindicated" iafter the Goods and Services Tax Council today massively pruned the list of products attracting 28 per cent tax.
"When GST rate is capped at 18%, this Govt would have learnt its lesson belatedly," P Chidamabaram tweeted, referring to the GST Council cutting the number of items attracting the top 28 per cent tax rate to just 50 from 228 previously.
When GST rate is capped at 18%, this Govt would have learnt its lesson belatedly.
"Congress is vindicated. I am vindicated. The merit of capping GST at 18% is now recognised," Chidamabaram went on to say, before delivering his denouement: "Thank you Gujarat. Your elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do."
Thank you Gujarat. Your elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do.
The former Finance Minister, whose party has sharply attacked the Modi government over the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, seemed to be suggesting that the Centre carried out the GST revision in order to further the Bharatiya Janata Party's chances in poll-bound Gujarat.
Gujarat, which has a larger trader population, has almost become a referendum on the Modi government's economic policies, with the Congress turning both demonetisation and the GST roll-out a poll issue.
Earlier today, the all-powerful GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, announced major changes to how products and services will be taxed under the GST regime.
After the GST revision, the 28 per cent tax rate bracket, which previously had 228 items, now has just 50 mostly luxury and sin products.
The top tax rate is now restricted to luxury and demerit goods like pan masala, aerated water and beverages, cigars and cigarettes, tobacco products, cement, paints, perfumes, ACs, dish washing machine, washing machine, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, cars and two-wheelers, aircraft and yacht.
Chewing gum, chocolates, preparation for facial make-up, shaving and after-shave items, shampoo and deodorants and washing powder detergent are some of the items that will now attract a lower 18 per cent rate. These items were earlier taxed at 28 per cent.
Addressing the media after the Council Meet in Guwahati, Finance Minister Jaitley said that 178 items have been moved from 28 per cent slab to the 18 per cent GST bracket. The GST revision also brought relief for restaurants, with Jaitley saying that a uniform 5 per cent rate will be levied on all eateries, both air-conditioned and non-AC.
"Consumers will be benefited by lower prices as most of the taxable items are in the 5 per cent, 12 per cent or 18 per cent slabs," Jaitley said.
(With inputs from PTI)