India’s prime minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks at a business symposium in Japan. (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

Working To Bring 99% Things In Sub-18% GST Slab, Says PM Modi 

Indicating that a further simplification of the Goods and Services Tax is on the anvil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government wants to ensure that “99 percent things” attract sub-18 percent GST slab.

Before the implementation of the GST, registered enterprises numbered 65 lakh, which has now risen by 55 lakh, PM Modi said at a media summit in Mumbai.

"Today, the GST system has been established to a large extent and we are working towards a position where 99 percent things will attract the sub-18 percent GST slab," Modi said.

Modi indicated that the 28 percent GST slab would only be restricted to a few select items, such as luxury goods. He said the effort will be to ensure that 99 percent of all items, including almost all items used by the common man, would be kept at 18 percent or less.

"We are of the opinion of making GST as smooth as possible for the enterprises," he said.

In earlier days, the GST was framed according to the existing VAT or excise tax structures exercised in those respective states. (With) the discussions held from time-to-time, the tax system is getting improved.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister 

"The country was demanding GST for decades. I am pleased to say that GST implementation has removed contradictions in the trade market and efficiency of system is improving. The economy is also getting transparent," Modi said.

Modi also spoke of his government's commitment to root out corruption. "Corruption had been taken as a new normal in India. It was 'Chalta hai'. Whenever anyone used to speak up, someone would say, ‘This is India. This is how it is’," Modi said.

"Why should it be like this," he said. “When companies used to be unable to repay loans, nothing used to happen to them and their owners.”

Also read: Indian Back Offices: In The Line Of GST Fire?

"That is because since the start they had been given protection from probes by certain special people,” he added. Modi also dwelt on his government's initiative to provide gas connections to households.

"Till 2014, only 55 percent houses in the country had a gas connection. Imagine that. Our government is working towards finding permanent solutions and ending those practices that have held progress back for decades," he said.

The work to build a “New India” is going on, he said.