GST is a single tax on the supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer. Credits of input taxes paid at each stage will be available in the subsequent stage of value addition, which makes GST essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage. The final consumer will thus bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with set-off benefits at all the previous stages.
Anatomy of GST rates
At classification level around one-fifth of the items are in GST exempted category, around one-fifth under 28% rate category and one-sixth under 12% category.
Most of the item shall come under 18% tax rate. Most of the food items have been exempted or fetch lowest rate of 5% which is important given high poor percentage in society.
Within services category luxury services and services considered to be anti-social like gambling are under 28% category.
Under the goods category, petroleum products, alcohol, electricity, real estate and several food subcomponents have been kept outside GST ambit.
Under services, health and education, amongst some others, have been excluded.
Four products luxury cars, aerated drinks, tobacco and related 'paan' products would also fetch additional Cess.
The council has recently revised rates on 66 items such as pickles, sauces, fruit preserves, insulin, cashew nuts, insulin, school bags, colouring books, notebooks, printers, cutlery, agarbattis and cinema tickets, following representations from industry.
Restaurants, manufacturers and traders having a turnover of up to Rs 75 lakh can avail of the composition scheme with lower rates of 5%, 2% and 1%, respectively, with lower compliance, against Rs 50 lakh previously. A GST rate of 5% will be applicable on outsourcing of manufacturing or job work in textiles and the gems and jewellery sector. Bleaching and cleaning of human hair, a big industry in Midnapore, will not face any tax.
Implications on various sectors of GST ratesEstimates suggest that there is likely to be no upward impact on inflation. Rather, if tax cuts are passed on and the input tax credit mechanism runs with part efficiency, GST could help lower the inflation rate by 10-50bps. In terms of growth impact, the near-term could be messy, with adjustment costs for the private sector grappling with inter-sector implications. Service providers, in particular, are likely to face an increased (and more complex) tax burden. Over the medium-term, the impact on overall growth is unambiguously positive.
The progressive tax structure would make sure that states do not face any revenue shortfall due to GST. It is likely that more comprehensive service tax coverage increases their revenues. Then, if any shortfall does remain, the Centre will take care of it.
Moreover, with a view to keep inflation under check, essential items including food, which presently constitute roughly half of the consumer inflation basket, will be taxed at zero rate. The cess is expected to provide additional resources to the central government to compensate states for losses incurred. This will be based on the compensation formula.
Impact on Important sectors
Criticism of rates according to some experts
A well-designed GST in India is expected to simplify and rationalize the current indirect tax regime, eliminate tax cascading and put the Indian economy on high-growth trajectory. The proposed GST levy may potentially impact both manufacturing and services sector for the entire value chain of operations, namely procurement, manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, sales, and pricing.
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