Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said his government is moving to simplify the Goods and Services Tax system to a point where more than 99% items come under a tax slab of 18% or lower. Speaking at a summit organised by Republic TV, Modi said only a few luxury items, such as aeroplanes and expensive cars, would be taxed higher than that after further consolidation.
“We believe that GST should be made as simple and convenient as possible,” Modi said at the event. He said the new indirect tax structure had made the system more efficient and transparent. Even developed countries do not find it easy to implement minor tax reforms, the prime minister said, hailing the implementation of GST.
The GST system has five tax slabs – 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% – which has often faced criticism. There were over 220 items in the 28% slab in the beginning, but the GST Council had trimmed it down to just 35 now, PTI reported.
The number of registered enterprises has risen from 65 lakh before GST to 1.2 crore now, Modi said. “I have already given my suggestions for the upcoming meeting of the GST Council,” Modi said. “All items used by the common man – over 99% of them, all except luxury goods – will come under 18% or lower tax slab, and we have been moving towards this goal.”
The Goods and Services Tax Council will meet for the 31st time on December 22. The Council was set up in 2016 to discuss the implementation of the new tax system that came into effect from July 1, 2017. The council comprises representatives from the central and all state governments.