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GST Council fixes 4-level GST rate structure (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper II & III)

GST to have 4 slabs (5 %, 12%, 18% and 28%)
The GST Council finalised a multiple-slab rate structure, including the cess, for the new indirect tax. The quantum of cess on each of these will depend on the current incidence of tax.

Details
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be levied at multiple rates ranging from 0 per cent to 28 per cent.
1. Ultra luxuries, demerit and sin goods, will attract a cess for a period of five years on top of the 28 per cent GST.
2. On nearly half of the consumer inflation basket, including food grains, the GST will be at 0 per cent.
3. The lowest slab of 5 per cent will be for items of common consumption.
4. There would be two standard rates of 12 per cent and 18 per cent, which would fall on the bulk of the goods and services. This includes fast-moving consumer goods.
5. The Council did not take a call on the GST rate on gold. 

Status of Cess 
The GST will subsume the multitude of cesses currently in place, including the Swachh Bharat Cess, the Krishi Kalyan Cess and the Education Cess. Only the Clean Environment Cess is being retained, revenues from which will also fund the compensations.

The Centre gave a constitutional guarantee to States for making good these losses for a period of five years.Though on the expiry of the five-year period the cess will no longer be collected, the Council will, revisit the GST rates on ultra-luxury and demerit goods.

Implications
1. Most services are expected to become costlier as the ones being taxed currently at the rate of 15 per cent are likely to be put in the 18-per cent slab.
2. The services being taxed at lower rates such as train tickets, will fall in the lower slabs.
3. The highest slab of 28 per cent will include white goods and all those items on which the current rate of incidence varies from 30-31 per cent.



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