The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has announced major changes in the new national law, reducing tax rate on a wide range of products. After the Council’s meeting in Guwahati, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, tax on 178 items have been reduced to 18% from 28% and only 50 items now remain in the highest tax slab of 28%.
Dining out will also become cheaper, as the Finance Minister said that the Council has decided that food at all restaurants in the country, except those in starred hotels, will be taxed at 5% rather than 18%, without Input Tax Credit (ITC). The new rates will be effective from the 15th of this month.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the Council’s decisions. In a series of tweets, Mr Modi said, the recommendations made by the Council will further benefit the citizens and add strength to the GST. He said, the recommendations are in spirit of the continuous feedback that the government is getting from various stakeholders on GST.
The Prime Minister said, people’s participation is at the core of his government’s working adding that the Centre is working tirelessly for the country’s economic integration through GST. BJP President Amit Shah has also welcomed the amendments saying that it will boost consumption, which is good for the economy. Congress has said, GST is the worst example of how a noble conception can be distorted out of obstinacy.
Consumer product makers and the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India have hailed the Council’s decisions. Hindustan Unilever spokesperson said, the firm will be delighted to pass on the net benefits at the corporate level to the consumers. Welcoming the move, Hotel and Restaurant Associations President Garish Oberoi said, they were demanding to bring down GST rate on restaurants to 12% with ITC or at 5% without ITC.