The Goods and Services Tax Council ended its three-day meeting a day ahead of schedule on Wednesday after states failed to reach a consensus on the rate bands for the new regime, The Hindureported. The Council will now discuss the rate structure in its next meetings on November 3 and 4.
The states also reportedly failed to come to an agreement on the Centre’s proposal to impose a cess over the GST on luxury items. Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the states were of the opinion that it was not possible to segregate goods and services. He said, “For instance, restaurants register for both service tax and Value Added Tax [which is imposed exclusively on goods].”
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the final tax slabs would depend on the source of funds that the Centre intends to use to compensate states for revenue losses incurred after the shift to the GST regime, NDTV reported. Jaitley said that while all the members of the Council had “converged towards a consensus”, the details would be worked out during the Council’s next meetings.
On Tuesday, the Council discussed a four-slab rate band structure with the lowest rate of 6% to be imposed on essential items, and the highest rate of 26% for luxury goods and demerit items such as tobacco, cigarettes, aerated drinks, and polluting items. It also discussed standard rates of 12% and 18%. It further proposed the exemption of food items and 50% of commonly used items from the purview of the GST.
Adhia had said that less than 10% of the taxable goods would fall in the lowest rate bracket, while 70% of the taxable base would come in the lower and standard rate brackets. About 25% of the tax base would fall in the highest rate bracket, he had said, adding that fast-moving consumer goods and consumer durable products would attract 26% GST rate, against the current 31%.
The GST Bill got President Pranab Mukherjee’s approval on September 8, after being ratified by 16 states. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 3.
Money plays a big role in leading a fulfilled life. But here are some other factors to not discount
A large global survey has some surprising answers to how we think about life.
What’s the one thing that makes you feel most fulfilled? This was one of the simple questions asked to more than two million people in a worldwide survey conducted by Abbott, the global healthcare company. According to the survey, on a scale of 100, with 100 being “living fully”, Indians ranked themselves at 61, behind the global average of 68.4 and much behind China at 79 and Mexico at 75. Not surprisingly, with such a massive scale and scope, the survey results offered some startling insights into how people across countries think about their lives.
One of the biggest paradoxes the survey uncovered was that most people—nearly 44% of the respondents—felt money was the ultimate stumbling block keeping them from a fulfilled life. When asked about the one thing that makes them feel most fulfilled, money was not the number one response for even a single country. So why did people still claim it to be the top barrier?
One way to understand this is to study the top things that do make people fulfilled across the world. This showed a remarkable consensus. Globally most respondents selected “family” as the number one factor of fulfillment except in China, where “health” was considered more crucial to personal fulfillment. Attributes like “spirituality”, “success”, “giving”, “travel”, “community”, “health”, “music” and “adventure” also scored well in different parts of the globe.
It is clear that money can enable us to accomplish many of the things which give us a sense of fulfillment. It enables us to travel more, learn new things and even take better care of our health.
However, it is when we consider the pursuit of money as the primary key to fulfillment and an end in itself that the problems begin. Perhaps this is because we postpone our immediate happiness or ignore the things that give us joy for the sake of some distant financial goal. In India, especially, there is a tendency to prioritise work over family and friends. In the pursuit of wealth, we often avoid social occasions and get-togethers and skip simple acts of companionship like dining with family or wishing friends on important occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Tellingly, nearly 23% Indian respondents chose “priorities” as the top barrier to fulfillment. This can lead to fatigue or burnout. It can also lead to increased emotional distance from friends and family, and contribute to a general sense of apathy in life. To top that, we may never realise how much money is enough money to do things that will bring us happiness and may continue to chase money at the cost of other joys. While being financially responsible is undeniably a virtue, it should not distract us, at least for long, from other drivers that directly contribute to personal fulfillments.
Ultimately, happiness is a choice. Many people choose to hold on to the “negative stimuli” in their lives. They choose to focus on the problems they face rather than the positive aspects in their life. Once you choose to be happy and focus on taking decisions that will make you happy rather than just make you money or bring you superficial success, it will become a lot easier to feel fulfilled. Think of happiness as a resource—an asset that needs be grown and cultivated just like your bank balance.
The path to greater fulfilment is a deeply personal one. Thankfully, there are many resources available that can help people around the world define and lead a more fulfilled life. Abbott is committed to helping people live the best life possible. Their website features life hacks for work or personal time like those listed below. These are great tools for those ready to lead a more fulfilled and meaningful life, starting today.
This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.