Arun Jaitley indicates scope for rationalisation of rates under GST

Jaitley said with the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the GST the dream of one tax regime was met. PTI file image

Jaitley said with the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the GST the dream of one tax regime was met. PTI file image

Raising the matter in the Lower House TRS leader Jithender Reddy said that due to 18 per cent GST rate, some of the projects in the state have come to a standstill.

THE Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared that criminal and recovery proceedings will be started against defaulters of bank loans who divert money and asserted that no one can claim equality in not repaying loans to the banks.

Replying to a debate on the Bill, Jaitley said that a company defaulting on loans can not claim the right of equality in treatment as regards repaying the loans. There are some that are zero rated, or nil rate.

"And this government to take care of those senior citizens, for first time has brought in a scheme of 8 per cent guaranteed which will not change as far as senior citizens pension is concerned".

With regard to criticism over several slabs in the GST rates, the finance minister said there can not be a single slab in a country like India which has a large population below poverty line (BPL). As an example, he said a hawai chappal and a BMW auto could not be taxed at the same rate.

"When we have access to Parliament, we should not frequently resort to Ordinance", he said, adding the government had failed to impress upon the J&K government to implement GST from July 1.

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The president approved the bill despite disagreements from his economic team, led by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. However, lawmakers refuted this, saying the law would only need P25 billion a year.

He said one of the GST objectives is to aid and assist domestic products and the government does not want to just allow cheap foreign products to come in.

Winding up the debate on the bill, Jaitley said some laws were outdated and were acting as "impediment" instead of "expediting resolution". "A national party like Congress should not have got into it".

"J&K is a consumer state and GST being a destination- based tax, the revenues of the state would increase", he said.

"If they (J&K) didn't integrate, then traders would not have got input credit and the tax on final products would have been higher".

The finance minister said the pre-liberalisation-era law can be extended to decisions taken with an honest approach and that is why there are apprehensions among certain banks.

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