In pre-poll sop, govt slashes GST on 100 mass-use items

The Council has also made a decision to fully exempt sanitary napkins from GST, from the existing 12 percent.

"The exercise was to ensure simplification and rationalization of GST and extend relief to the common man", Goyal told a news conference in New Delhi on Saturday evening.

Sanitary napkins are taxed at 12 per cent under the one-year old GST regime, which attracted serious criticism from various quarters.

Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal held a press conference after the GST Council meeting on Saturday.

Sanitary napkins that were taxed at 12% earlier, has been put under the exempted category following widespread demand on the essential commodity.

Other items for which the GST rate was cut include footwear, water heaters, electric irons, refrigerators, lithium ion batteries (used in electric vehicles), hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, food appliances and ethanol.

► GST on washing machine reduced from 28% to 18%.

GST rates for several items were rationalised by the GST Council today, out of which 17 saw tax rates slashed from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.

The GST rate on bamboo flooring, hand-operated rubber rollers and zip fasteners have been cut to 12 percent from 18 percent, while the GST rate on ethanol has been to cut 5 percent from 18 percent, a move aimed at encouraging higher ethanol blending in petrol and diesel.

It also eased the burden for hotels, the textiles sector and small businesses at a marathon nine-hour meeting. The council has cleared 46 amendments, which will be passed in Parliament, Goyal added.

"The broad-level reductions could lead to lower tax collections for the next few months, but will lead to volume expansion which could more than make up for the reduction especially as we are headed towards the festive season", he said.

"GST Council cuts tax rate on an array of products".

So far, businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore were permitted to file returns quarterly.

Mr Goyal said, simplification in tax is a government priority. This was the first Council meeting he chaired after taking charge of the Finance Ministry. He said, the decisions taken today will be applicable from 27th of this month.

The Council has also chose to defer implementation of reverse charge mechanism (RCM) by a year to 30 September, 2019.

  • Eleanor Harrison