The Goods and Services Tax Council on Saturday finalised tax rates for gold, diamonds, textiles and garments, footwear and biscuits, among other items, reported The Financial Express. Draft rules pertaining to transition provisions and filing of returns were also approved at the 15th meeting of the Council. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who headed the meeting, said the new indirect tax regime will be rolled out on time – July 1.

The Council decided to put a tax of 3% on gold, currently it is around 2% – 1% excise and 1% VAT, which varies from state to state. Rough diamonds will now attract 0.25% tax, a decision that has been criticised by the industry.

“We request the government to reconsider its decision,” Praveenshankar Pandya, chairman of Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council told NDTV. “Rough diamonds have been kept out of the purview of taxes even in various Asian countries which are globally competitive. It is difficult for gems & jewellery exporters to pay 0.25 per cent and then initiate process for refunds, etc.”

For footwear, the Council has decided to put 5% tax on shoes priced at Rs 500 or less, while 18% tax will be added to those costing more than Rs 500. At present, forrwear priced between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 attract 6% tax, besides VAT.

Readymade garments will attract a levy of 12% while solar panels will be taxed at 5% and biscuits at 18% under the new regime. “The biscuit industry would have expected some differentiation between lower price point products and higher, in line with apparels and footwear but it finds itself at 18 per cent category in entirely,” said Pratik Jain, partner and leader indirect tax at PwC.

The Council also decided on draft rules and laws that will help in the transition process, and discussed IT preparedness instrumental for the roll out. The next meeting will be held on June 11.