Since the GST was launched, the council had undertaken several rate reductions till the July 2018 meeting. In all, rates were reduced for 384 commodities and 68 services while there hasn’t been a single instance of a rate increase.
As the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meets here on Saturday for its 31st session, expectations are that the highest tax slab of 28% will get pruned further. Among the 31 items that are now taxed at 28% (of the 1,211 items under GST including those for which the tax rate is nil), about 10 items like digital cameras, ACs, large screen TVs, dishwasher and pneumatic tyres are likely to be brought under the 18% rate.
While the idea is to keep only the so-called sin/luxury items in the highest slab, revenue considerations may prevent the council from going the whole hog. Bringing down GST on cement from 28% to 18% may be deferred as revenue loss is estimated at a whopping Rs 14,000 crore/year.
The 28% slab consisted of 230 items when GST was launched. It has since seen the sharpest trimming, in line with the objective of moderating burden on industries and end-consumers (see chart).