14th GST council meet begins in Srinagar today

State Govt to introduce GST bill in next Assembly session: Drabu

The proposed rate of 28 per cent, along with the cess of 1-3 per cent, could shoot up total levies to 29-31 per cent, raising prices in a price-sensitive category. "But we have to wait for the final GST rates, the decision on cess, both at the central and at the state level". The Council onthe first day of the two-day meeting also also cleared rules for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is scheduled to start from from July 1.

The long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) is hailed as India's biggest tax overhaul since independence in 1947.

ACs and refrigerators will fall in the 28 per cent tax slab while life-saving drugs have been kept at 5 per cent rate.

Hair oil, toothpaste and soaps are in the 18 per cent bracket along with capital goods and industrial intermediaries. Mithai or candies will attract 5 per cent levy. The discussions were around the lines of evolving a broad consensus on the placement of the items under various tax slabs as to avoid "surprises". Theatrical distribution is now exempted from service tax by the central government, while the Tamil Nadu government has ex empted all Tamil films from Value Added Tax. In all, rates for 1,211 items have been finalised. So there will be a substantial reduction as far as those items are concerned.

"Before we all came here there was a lurking doubt in the minds of many of us as to what is the environment in the state as to whether we will have to be here or not?" "The broad rate structure of GST has become clear with very few items being exempted, majority being in the 18% category and a large chunk under the 28% category". These include a rate of zero for essential items such as grains, 5 percent for mass consumption items like tea, commonly used products such as processed foods at 12 percent.

The full details of the goods and services, and the rates applicable thereof, are likely to be released officially on Friday.

The fitments, they said, have been done in a way that there is no increase in tax incidence.

Cereals are included in the exempt list now, down from the current 5 percent, while the rate on packed and branded cereals is yet to be decided. Therefore, the members should be given adequate time to study and then discuss on the subject, Mishra said. "On some we have deliberately brought tax down".

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