Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reviewed the preparedness for the new indirect tax regime – the Goods and Services Tax (GST) – which will be rolled out from next month.
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and senior officers from the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
This was the first review by the PM after the GST Council finalised the rates, and the second since May 2.
The Prime Minister specifically reviewed aspects of implementation such as IT readiness, human resource readiness, training and sensitisation of officers, query handling mechanism, and monitoring, according to a release by Press Information Bureau (PIB).
The Prime Minister was informed that GST systems such as IT infrastructure, training of officials, integration with banks, and enrollment of existing taxpayers will be in readiness well in time for the July 1 implementation date, it said, adding that information security systems were discussed in detail.
Modi described GST as a turning point for the economy, and directed officials that the creation of ‘One Nation; One Market; One Tax’ would greatly benefit the common man. The Prime Minister also directed that maximum attention be paid to cyber-security in IT systems concerned with GST.
The GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising his state counterparts, has already finalised tax rates on almost all goods and services. It will meet again on June 11 to review some of the rates and discuss other pending issues.
All goods and services have been put in slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, with the exception of gold and precious metals, which will attract 3 per cent GST, and rough diamond at 0.25 per cent GST.
Items like salt, milk, jaggery, egg, curd, unpacked foodgrain and paneer, fresh vegetables, unbranded atta, maida, besan, honey, besides education and health services, have all been exempted from GST.
Tea, sugar, coffee beans, edible oil, packed paneer, milk powder, brooms, domestic LPG and kerosene have been put in the 5 per cent bracket.
According to the fitment of rates in various tax brackets, 81 per cent of the items will fall in/below 18 per cent slab. Only 19 per cent of the goods will attract GST above 18 per cent. Hair oil, soaps, jams, soups, ice cream, capital goods and computers will attract a 18 per cent levy.
Those placed in the 28 per cent slab are custard powder, shampoo, perfume, make up items, chewing gum, motorcycle, cement and consumer durables.
The single-biggest taxation reform since independence, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will subsume 16 different taxes, including excise, service tax and VAT, and make India a single market for seamless movement of goods and services.
GST is estimated to boost GDP by 1-2 per cent and bring down inflation by 2 per cent over the long term.