The government today said the GST, scheduled to be rolled out from July 1, is set to benefit consumers as tax incidence on smart phones, medical devices and cement will come down. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council comprising state finance ministers and headed by Union Finance Minister had last week finalised the GST tax on most of the items and services. A smart phone currently attracts 2 per cent central excise duty and VAT, which vary from state to state (5 per cent to 15 per cent). “Weighted average VAT rate on smart phones works out to about 12 per cent. Thus, the present total tax incidence on smart phones works out to more than 13.5 per cent. As against this, the proposed GST rate for smart phones is 12 per cent,” the finance ministry said.
In case of medical devices, the present total tax incidence on them works out to more than 13 per cent, while it would attract GST of 12 per cent. Puja samagri including havan samagri has been kept under the “nil” category, though exact formulation for the same is yet to be finalised. Referring to the packaged cement, the ministry said it would be taxed at 28 per cent under the GST as against 31 per cent on account of different indirect taxes.
Similarly, there will be lesser tax burden in case of medicaments, including Ayurvedic, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathic or Bio-chemic systems also. Medicaments, in general, attract 6 per cent central excise duty and 5 per cent VAT. Further, CST, octroi, entry tax, are also applicable in general. At these rates, the present total tax incidence works out to more than 13 per cent. As against this, the proposed GST rate on medicines, including ayurvedic medicines, is 12 per cent.