GST stabilised in a short time, says Jaitley

Finance Minister hints at a further rejig in tax rates

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the Goods and Service Tax (GST) had stabilised in a ‘very short’ time and that it provided an opportunity to widen its base and further rationalise the rates in the future.

Also, he said the GST had brought about an entire change in the country’s indirect tax system. Mr. Jaitley added GST had “stabilised in a very short time in India” as compared with various other countries.

“Therefore, it gives us an opportunity, in time to come, to increase its base and rationalise the structure as it continues to evolve,” he said at an event to mark International Customs Day.

At present, the GST has four rates — 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. In November, the GST Council had decided to keep only ‘sin’ goods and white goods under the 28% tax bracket and moved 178 items from the highest tax bracket to 18%.

Thirteen items were moved from the 18% to the 12% bracket; eight items from the 12% to the 5% bracket; six items from the 18% to the 5% category, while six other items moved from the 5% to the 0% slab.

Following the reduction on more than 200 items, collections hit their lowest in November from Rs. 80,808 crore in the previous month.

Change in trend

Halting two months of decline, collections in December rose to Rs. 86,703 crore.

Total GST collections in October were more than Rs. 83,000 crore. However, in September, the GST mop-up had exceeded Rs. 92,150 crore.


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