Hopeful about GST being implemented by April: Meghwal

New Delhi [India], Nov. 4: Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal on Friday expressed hope for the Goods and Services Tax to be implemented by April 1st next year.

Meghwal told ANI, "The main bill during this Winter Session from November 16 to December 16 will be GST.

We will pass what we call the central GST and also urge the state governments to convene their respective sessions during this phase and pass the state GST.

So, the main motive is to ensure that the GST is implemented from April 1, 2017. Besides this, there will be discussions on several other bills and issues. "Our main motive during the discussions held so far on the GST is to ensure that there is a consensus.

So far, we have been successful in building a consensus with regard to all points on the GST," he added.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the government has kept about 50 percent of products in the consumer basket, such as foodgrains, as 'zero-rated' and that the cost empowerment issue will be taken up on Friday.

The GST Council may finalize the entry-level of the Goods and Services Tax rate at five percent while the upper level will be fixed at 28 percent.

The standard rates for most items will be fixed at 12 and 18 percent as was earlier planned, say government officials.

The Centre had recommended tax rates of 5, 12, 18, 25 and 40 percent, but pressure from the industry to keep a higher upper limit at 28 percent and removing the cess over 26 percent has led to the change.

Also, states had asked the GST Council to revise the six percent lower level tax to five percent. The council may also fix the GST tax rate for tobacco at 40 percent plus an additional duty. Announcing the GST rates, Jaitley said the five percent duty was on items of mass consumption or ' Aam Aadmi' products.

"Tobacco will fetch 28 percent sin tax, excluding cess. Aerated drinks will also fetch tax at the same rate. Most white goods to be taxed at 28 percent but with riders," announced Jaitley at the press conference.

The prices of certain consumer durables like televisions, air conditioners, fridges and washing machines may however become cheaper with decrease in taxes.

Source: ANI