Days after Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi hinted that GST Council may replace 12 per cent and 18 per cent slabs with 14-15 per cent, the officiating Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said the capacity to slash the GST rates on more items would go up as Goods and Services Tax revenues and the compliance rate increases and the economy formalises.
Goyal was speaking in the Lok Sabha after moving four bills seeking to amend the Goods and Services Tax laws for consideration and passage. The bills were Central GST (Amendment) Bill, Integrated GST (Amendment) Bill, GST (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill and Union Territory GST (Amendment) Bill.
Last month, GST Council had announced the biggest rate cut since last November and slashed the levy on several white goods and commonly used kitchen appliances like mixer-grinders and juicers by 10 per cent - from the highest tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent.
The Minister said the "GST Council has reduced rates on many items and services in the last round. We want the consumer to be burdened less by indirect tax."
Goyal said in the last one year, GST on about 400 goods and 68 services were reduced. GST came into force from July 1, 2017.
"We are empowering 125 crore people of India through Good and Simple Tax," he said, referring to the GST. Promotion of an honest tax structure will improve compliance as it will encourage people to come forward and pay taxes, he said.
On the problems faced by the textile sector, he said the GST Council has resolved most of the problems of the sector. With the introduction of GST, textile has become cheaper, he added.
He also pointed out that the government was able to collect GST in line with the country's fiscal deficit target.
Referring to the recent growth forecast about India by the IMF, he said "I think India's economic growth will be better than this forecast."
India is projected to clock an economic growth of 7.5 per cent in the 2019-2020 fiscal year on strengthening of investment and robust private consumption, the IMF had said in its latest report.
Noting that India was being called the 'Golden Bird', the minister said "now the entire world believes that India will again become the Golden Bird under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi", adding that the reform measures undertaken by the government has benefited India and the rest of the world.
Attacking at the Congress for their noisy protest, Mr Goyal said "the people of this country will not forgive your party as you people are interrupting the House because you want high tax rate."
He also accused the Congress of not being serious about national security. "What you failed to do, Modiji did...In the next general elections, you may get not even get 4 seats." Participating in the debate, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that this government does not know how to implement GST.
"More than 50,000 MSME industries closed down in Tamil Nadu alone due to faulty implementation of GST," he stated.
With PTI inputs