oppn parties GST: Why Impose Cess?

News Snippets

  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
  • Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian planes
  • Dilapidated building collapses in Mumbai, killing more than 10 people while many were still trapped
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav case verdict to be delivered today by the ICJ
  • A Vistara flight landed in Lucknow with just 5 to 10 minutes of fuel left in the tank
  • Supreme Court to decide on Karnataka MLAs plea today
  • Karnataka alliance to face floor test on Thursday
  • China says that the next Dalai Lama will be appointed by it
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
oppn parties
GST: Why Impose Cess?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The GST Council, in its collective wisdom, still thinks that imposing a cess on the highest taxed slab of so-called sin goods is necessary. But it goes against the principle of GST which was envisioned and designed to subsume all cesses. Any compensatory pool could have been created by earmarking a percentage from sin goods for that purpose, while taxing them at a still higher percentage. Once a precedent for imposing cess is put in place, it is likely to be abused on the smallest of pretexts.

The other decisions of keeping daily essentials out of the ambit and taxing other regular necessities at just 5% need to be welcomed. But the government will have to ensure that companies pass on the benefits to the consumer and do not increase prices to realize the stated benefit of less inflationary pressure. It also needs to be ensured that most other products and services come under the 18% slab. Luxury items taxed at 28% should exclude smaller petrol and electric cars.

It is good that a consensus has been reached on the rates. It will ensure an early roll-out. The Council should rethink the cess and exemptions should be kept at a minimum. The focus should now be on the IT backbone, the training of staff and the actual transition. The teething problems can be sorted out once GST is up and rolling.