However, for luxury, sin, whitegoods, paints, cement, washing machine, air conditioners etc. will still have to follow 28 per cent slab.
New Delhi: The GST Council on Friday cut tax rates on about 173 consumer items. Now, only 50 items remain under the 28 percent slab.
The decision was taken at the 23rd meeting of the GST Council held at Guwahati on November 10, 2017.
While addressing a press conference after the meeting, the Finance Minister Arun Jately informed that earlier, 227 items lied in the 28 per cent slab. Now all types of chewing gum, chocolates, preparation for women cosmetics, shaving and after-shave items, deodorants, washing powder detergent, granite, marble, fire extinguisher, watches, blade, stove, and mattress have been put in the 18 per cent category.
Scroll Down to Read Detailed List of Items and Their Respective Rates
However, for luxury, sin, whitegoods, paints, cement, washing machine, air conditioners etc. will still have to follow 28 per cent slab.
Now, eating out will also become cheaper as rate for restaurant, who don’t claim tax credit (including ac/non ac), was decided at flat 5%.
The rate of outdoor catering and for hotels below Rs 7,500 room was fixed at 18% and 5% respectively
GST rate on fly ash and fly ash brick was slashed from 18 to 5 per cent and 18 to12 percent on pasta, jute and cotton handbags.
The threshold for composition scheme was hiked to Rs 1.5 crore.
As per the details given in the press conference, during last three the implementation of GST caused loss of around Rs 60,000 crore to the Centre and Rs 30,000 crore to states.
Further, it was decided in the meeting that all taxpayers would have file return in FORM GSTR-3B along with payment of tax by 20th of the succeeding month till March, 2018.
October 2017 onwards, the amount of late fee payable by a taxpayer whose tax liability for that month was ‘NIL’will be Rs. 20/- per day instead of Rs. 200/- per day.
In an earlier meeting of the GST Council, it was decided to exempt those service providers whose annual aggregate turnover is less than Rs. 20 lakhs (Rs. 10 lakhs in special category states except J & K) from obtaining registration even if they are making inter-State taxable supplies of services.
As a further measure, it has been decided to exempt such suppliers providing services through an e-commerce platform from obtaining compulsory registration provided their aggregate turnover does not exceed twenty lakh rupees.
All service providers, whether supplying intra-State, inter-State or through e-commerce operator, will be exempt from obtaining GST registration, provided their aggregate turnover does not exceed Rs. 20 lakhs (Rs. 10 lakhs in special category States except J & K).
Goods on which the Council has recommended reduction in GST rate from 28% to 18% include:
- Wire, cables, insulated conductors, electrical insulators, electrical plugs, switches, sockets, fuses, relays, electrical connectors
- Electrical boards, panels, consoles, cabinets etc for electric control or distribution
- Particle/fibre boards and ply wood. Article of wood, wooden frame, paving block
- Furniture, mattress, bedding and similar furnishing
- Trunk, suitcase, vanity cases, brief cases, travelling bags and other hand bags, cases
- Detergents, washing and cleaning preparations
- Liquid or cream for washing the skin
- Shampoos; Hair cream, Hair dyes (natural, herbal or synthetic) and similar other goods; henna powder or paste, not mixed with any other ingredient;
- Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations, personal deodorants, bath preparations, perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, room deodorisers
- Perfumes and toilet waters
- Beauty or make-up preparations
- Fans, pumps, compressors
- Lamp and light fitting
- Primary cell and primary batteries
- Sanitary ware and parts thereof of all kind
- Articles of plastic, floor covering, baths, shower, sinks, washbasins, seats, sanitary ware of plastic
- Slabs of marbles and granite
- Goods of marble and granite such as tiles
- Ceramic tiles of all kinds
- Miscellaneous articles such as vacuum flasks, lighters,
- Wrist watches, clocks, watch movement, watch cases, straps, parts
- Article of apparel & clothing accessories of leather, guts, furskin, artificial fur and other articles such as saddlery and harness for any animal
- Articles of cutlery, stoves, cookers and similar non electric domestic appliances
- Razor and razor blades
- Multi-functional printers, cartridges
- Office or desk equipment
- Door, windows and frames of aluminium.
- Articles of plaster such as board, sheet,
- Articles of cement or concrete or stone and artificial stone,
- Articles of asphalt or slate,
- Articles of mica
- Ceramic flooring blocks, pipes, conduit, pipe fitting
- Wall paper and wall covering
- Glass of all kinds and articles thereof such as mirror, safety glass, sheets, glassware
- Electrical, electronic weighing machinery
- Fire extinguishers and fire extinguishing charge
- Fork lifts, lifting and handling equipment,
- Bull dozers, excavators, loaders, road rollers,
- Earth moving and levelling machinery,
- Cooling towers, pressure vessels, reactors
- Crankshaft for sewing machine, tailor’s dummies, bearing housings, gears and gearing; ball or roller screws; gaskets
- Electrical apparatus for radio and television broadcasting
- Sound recording or reproducing apparatus
- Signalling, safety or traffic control equipment for transports
- Physical exercise equipment, festival and carnival equipment, swings, shooting galleries, roundabouts, gymnastic and athletic equipment
- All musical instruments and their parts
- Artificial flowers, foliage and artificial fruits
- Explosive, anti-knocking preparation, fireworks
- Cocoa butter, fat, oil powder,
- Extract, essence ad concentrates of coffee, miscellaneous food preparations
- Chocolates, Chewing gum / bubble gum
- Malt extract and food preparations of flour, groats, meal, starch or malt extract
- Waffles and wafers coated with chocolate or containing chocolate
- Rubber tubes and miscellaneous articles of rubber
- Goggles, binoculars, telescope,
- Cinematographic cameras and projectors, image projector,
- Microscope, specified laboratory equipment, specified scientific equipment such as for meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, geology
- Solvent, thinners, hydraulic fluids, anti-freezing preparation
b) Goods on which the Council has recommended reduction in GST rate from 28% to 12% are:
- Wet grinders consisting of stone as grinder
- Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles
Other changes/rationalisation of GST rates on goods:
- a) 18% to 12%
- Condensed milk
- Refined sugar and sugar cubes
- Curry paste, mayonnaise and salad dressings, mixed condiments and mixed seasoning
- Diabetic food
- Medicinal grade oxygen
- Printing ink
- Hand bags and shopping bags of jute and cotton
- Hats (knitted or crocheted)
- Parts of specified agricultural, horticultural, forestry, harvesting or threshing machinery
- Specified parts of sewing machine
- Spectacles frames
- Furniture wholly made of bamboo or cane
b) 18% to 5%
- Puffed rice chikki, peanut chikki, sesame chikki, revdi, tilrevdi, khaza, kazuali, groundnut sweets gatta, kuliya
- Flour of potatoes put up in unit container bearing a brand name
- Chutney powder
- Fly ash
- Sulphur recovered in refining of crude
- Fly ash aggregate with 90% or more fly ash content
c) 12% to 5%
- Desiccated coconut
- Narrow woven fabric including cotton newar [with no refund of unutilised input tax credit]
- Idli, dosa batter
- Finished leather, chamois and composition leather
- Coir cordage and ropes, jute twine, coir products
- Fishing net and fishing hooks
- Worn clothing
- Fly ash brick
d) 5% to nil
- Guar meal
- Hop cone (other than grounded, powdered or in pellet form)
- Certain dried vegetables such as sweet potatoes, maniac
- Unworked coconut shell
- Fish frozen or dried (not put up in unit container bearing a brand name)
- Khandsari sugar
- GST rates on aircraft engines from 28%/18% to 5%, aircraft tyres from 28% to 5% and aircraft seats from 28% to 5%.
- GST rate on bangles of lac/shellac from 3% GST rate to Nil.
Covid-19 Needs a Regional Response, Say Physicians and Activists at SAPAN Meeting
Peace activists under the SAPAN platform conducted an event on Sunday which included prominent physicians like Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Dr Anup Subedee, Dr Vandana Prasad, and Dr Hamid Jafari of Pakistan (led the team that eradicated polio in India). Speakers included Salima Hashmi, Khushi Kabir, Kanak Dixit, Lalita Ramdas, besides journalists Beena Sarwar, Mandira Nayar and others. Activist Priyanka Singh conducted the event.
“South Asian countries cannot go it alone, that’s irrational,’’ said Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury, renowned public health activist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee from Bangladesh.
The hard lockdown in his country will lead to furthering the inequalities in society, he warned, emphasizing that it is irresponsible to impose lockdowns without providing food. “Poverty has increased. There are 25 million more poor without food.”
Dr Chowdhury was among the physicians and health right activists across countries who came together on Sunday 27 June at a webinar organised by the South Asia Peace Action Network (SAPAN) to emphasize that the coronavirus pandemic must be fought collectively.
The third in the series of SAPAN’s monthly public webinars themed ‘Imagine: Neighbours in Peace’, the meeting focused on health as an entry point to talk about South Asian regionalism and Healthcare for all. Three main aspects deliberated included:
– How the pandemic is affecting rural areas of South Asian countries, hurdles in treatment, and access — or lack thereof — to vaccinations.
– How COVID-19 has affected mental health, women and particularly women in rural areas of all the countries of the region
– How the challenges are similar in all countries of the region and require similar solutions.
The meeting took place at a time when South Asia is reeling from the devastating second wave of Covid-19, especially in India. With Delta plus virus mutation now detected in parts of the region, the possibility of another wave looms large.
Journalist Mandira Nayar in Delhi moderated the physicians’ panel with Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury in Dhaka; infectious diseases specialist Dr Anup Subedee in Kathmandu and public health activist Dr Vandana Prasad also in Delhi. Dr Hamid Jafari of Pakistan, who led the WHO team that eradicated polio in India, joined from his current posting in Jordan.
Dr Chowdhury advocated challenging vaccine-producing countries and pushing South Asian governments to invest more in public health.
Participants also noted that the pandemic has particularly hit women hard.
“Domestic violence has increased,” noted Dr Prasad. Women often lack control over finances, are primary caregivers and shoulder the responsibility of caring for the ill. The pandemic has pushed women further into the margins, she said, adding that there is also a “gender dimension to the access of vaccines”.
She urged doctors to enter the peace activism domain, because the poor all over are at the brink of disaster.
Dr Prasad drew attention to the gendered nature of pandemic and frontline workers, as well as Dalits, indigenous people, other minorities. “Telemedicine is important, but we must not lose focus on need for ground-based public health to begin with”.
Frontline workers in India, the accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers often lack training, safety equipment and often doesn’t get her wages for months.
While highlighting that a public health system is meant to be a great equaliser, Dr Anup Subedee noted how the pandemic exposed systematic failures in many aspects of life in Nepal, referring not only to the grievous impact on non-Covid healthcare – like child immunization and maternity care – but also the painful ordeals of healthcare community itself.
He shared how the healthcare community in Nepal has been compelled to deal with threats of violence, lack of access to personal protection equipment, prospects of income loss without any social security system support, and an unaddressed mental health crisis among healthcare workers.
Doctors at the meeting endorsed the need for greater cooperation and collaboration across borders. Participants called on the governments to allow free flow of critical equipment and medical personnel across borders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had floated the idea of a SAARC medical visas for patients and for medical teams to assist during the pandemic – something that must be followed up.
The doctors also urged the international fraternity to push for a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, waiver so that the Covid-19 vaccine production can be ramped up. “It is the way forward for vaccines for all,’’ asserted Dr Prasad.
Activist Khushi Kabir in Dhaka introduced the event. She talked about connections, sharing her memory of how Dr Haroon Ahmed, one of the event’s speakers, was her physician when she was a child and he was starting work at a government clinic in Karachi. Dr Haroon was unable to join at the last moment due to ill health.
Wishing him a speedy recovery, Khushi commented, “Each time we meet, there are more losses people who have been part of our journey”. As at the previous SAPAN meeting there was a commemoration of mentors and leaders whose vision SAPAN is taking forward, like Asma Jahangir and Dr Mubashir Hasan, and Nirmala Despande and others.
There was also a moment of silence to express condolences and share the grief of the families and friends of those lost to Covid and other causes over the past month. “Since we were unable to memorialise everyone, the presentation could only be symbolic,” noted Khushi Kabir.
The In Memoriam slideshow includes journalist Ghazi Salahuddin’s three siblings taken by Covid in as many weeks, including Dr Aquila Islam, Pakistan’s first woman nuclear physicist. It also included the legendary runner Milkha Singh and his wife, volleyball champ Nirmal Saini who died within days of each other, and radiologist Chinna Dua, 56, wife of journalist Vinod Dua. She had endeared herself to music and poetry lovers across the region when she joined Tina Sani some years back at the Faiz Festival in Karachi – on Facebook at this link.
Ghazi Salahuddin has written about his family tragedy in a brave and heartbreaking oped for The News, Partings without goodbyes (20 June 2021), noting: “my struggle to cope with this terrible bereavement was eased a bit when I reminded myself that this pandemic has devastated so many families across the world…”
Several well known activists and experts also joined from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and elsewhere, including Hina Jillani, Urvashi Butalia, Jean Dreze, Kavita Srivastava, Shireen Huq, Kanak Mani Dixit and others.
The South Asia Peace Action Network (SAPAN) is primarily a coalition of individuals and organisations aiming to take forward a peace agenda for the region, building on the work done by mentors and leaders over the last few decades.
SAPAN founder and curator Beena Sarwar shared the story of this network and her vision for an inter-generational, multi-sectoral, inter- and intra-regional coalition of individuals and organisations coming together in broad consensus for a one-point agenda.
Facebook live recording is online at this link.
Editors Guild of India Condemns FIR Against Journalists, Calls it Destructive of Freedom of Speech
Shimla-The Editors Guild of India on Thursday condemned the filing of First Information Reports (FIRs) by the Uttar Pradesh Police against The Wire and several other journalists for their tweets on an assault on an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad on June 5th.
“The Guild is deeply concerned by the UP Police’s track record of filing FIRs against journalists to deter them from reporting serious incidents without fear of reprisals”, it said.
It further added that it is the duty of the journalists to report on the basis of sources and in case facts become contested later on, to report the emerging versions and facets.
The guild called such actions by the police destructive of freedom of speech. It also claimed that the police has been discriminatory in targeting those media organizations and journalists when thousands had tweeted the video- that have been critical of the government and its policies.
“The Guild condemns this wanton misuse of laws to criminalize reporting and dissent to harass independent media and demands that the FIRs be withdrawn immediately,” it demanded.
Several media organizations and journalists had posted the video on their social media feeds. The UP police has filled FIR’s against The Wire, Twitter, journalist Mohammed Zubair, Rana Ayyub and Sana Naqvi and some Congress leaders under IPC Sections 153(provocation for rioting), 153A(promoting enmity between different groups), 295A(acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 505(mischief), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 34(common intention) against them.
In the video that was posted by those charged, the man is seen alleging that he was beaten up by some people and was forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’.
India’s Revised Vaccination Policy and Supreme Court’s Role Behind This Change in Approach
Shimla-Free vaccine to all Indian citizens above 18 years of age would be available from 21st June onwards, the Government of India announced yesterday. The Centre has also announced that private hospitals would not be able to levy arbitrary charges for vaccination and the rate would be fixed. The government also rolled back its policy for procurement of vaccines, which was under heavy criticism not only from the opposition but also from the Supreme Court of India.
Though, the Centre claimed that the roll-back was a result of the demands raised by state governments, but some believe this decision came right after harsh judicial scrutiny of the government’s previous policy by the Supreme Court, whose initiation is being lauded by the citizens of India amid this pandemic.
“Many states came forward with a demand for reconsideration of the vaccination strategy and for bringing back the system that was there before 1st May,” the Centre said while defending the rollback.
Also, the Centre was even objecting to the court’s jurisdiction in matters related to policymaking and had termed it as an encroachment on the jurisdiction of the executive. However, very mindful of its jurisdiction, the court had mitigated this allegation of the Centre by explaining how policymaking is subject to judicial scrutiny. The court made the Centre aware of the ‘dialogic judicial review’, where the Court can question the executive and demand justifications from it over non-conformity of a policy to the constitutional rights.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court had grilled the Union government over its faulty and discriminatory policy as states were left on their own for the procurement of vaccines. In its orders passed on May 31, a bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat came down heavily upon the central government. The bench had termed the policy approach as “arbitrary and irrational” because it did not provide free vaccination for the 18-44 year age group. The bench had sought clarification on policy and dual pricing in which states were being made to procure vaccines directly from the manufactures and were invariably paying more for vaccines while the Centre procured the same vaccines at lower rates.
“Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, we are now faced with a situation where the 18-44 age group also needs to be vaccinated, although priority may be retained between different age groups on a scientific basis. Hence, due to the importance of vaccinating individuals in the 18-44 age group, the policy of the Central Government for conducting free vaccination themselves for groups under the first 2 phases, and replacing it with paid vaccination by the State/UT Governments and private hospital for the persons between 18-44 years is prima facie arbitrary and irrational” a bench observed while passing an order on May 31, 2021 concerning a Suo moto case on “Re-Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic”.
Further, the court had also expressed concerns over the digital divide which would make accessing vaccine equally difficult for a large section through online registration.
Earlier, in its orders passed on April 30, the bend had observed that this policy approach would be “detrimental to the right to life and health”. The bench had also observed that this policy requires rethinking, as it needs to be formulated in conformity with the provisions of Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
The bench aggressively went on to order the government to share all details of the vaccine purchase and distribution, as well as provide information on how the budget allocated for the vaccination (₹35,000 Crores ) was used.
Provisions of the New Vaccination Policy
- Procurement of 25 per cent vaccinations which was earlier with states will now be undertaken by the Government of India.
- The government of India will buy 75 per cent of the total vaccines produced and will provide it to the states free of cost. No state government would be spending anything on vaccines.
- The system of 25 per cent vaccines being procured directly by the private hospitals will continue. Private hospitals can’t charge more than 150 rupees service charge over the decided price of the vaccines.
The Centre said that this policy would be rolled out in two weeks.
“In two weeks, the Centre and states will make necessary preparations as per new guidelines,” the Centre announced yesterday.
Till today, more than 23 Crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country.
To ward off the embarrassment caused by such a contentious policy which was not conforming with the constitutional rights of the citizens, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, without referring to the judicial review, blamed it on the state governments.
“As the corona cases started declining, questions arose about the lack of choice for states and some people questioned why the Central government is deciding everything,” he said.
“India’s vaccination program was run mostly under the Central government. Free vaccination for all was moving forward and people were showing discipline in getting vaccinated when their turn came, amid all these demands for decentralization of vaccination were raised, the decision about priority to certain age groups was raised. Many types pressures were exerted and certain sections of media took it as a campaign,” the PM said.
But with that being said the role of the judiciary in making the government roll back its policy in the interest of the people is being lauded as the victory of judicial review. Also, it has attracted positive response for the apex court which was being alleged of evading several matters related to the public interest under the pressure from the current political regime.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana Extended Till Deepawali.
In another major announcement, the Central government announced the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Deepawali.
As per the announcement, till November, 80 crore people will continue to get a decided amount of free food grain every month.
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