Slabs under Goods and Services Tax (GST) can be reduced to three from five at present in coming days for the convenience of consumers and businesses, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi. Modi also heads high level minister panel on GST. In an interview to Bhasha, Modi said that there are five slabs in GST and “there is an intention to reduce it to three slabs but it will take some time” as it is related to states’ revenue.
Reacting to questions raised by former finance minister P Chidambaram that why rates of 88 items were not reduced by GST council in 2017, Modi said: “This is not a decision where only BJP government is involved. The decision has been taken by GST Council in which congress led governments are also involved”.
He said that after implementation of GST, initially it was to ensure that there should be no revenue loss and then rate on many items were gradually reduced with stabilisation of revenue.
Modi said that average revenue from GST is approximately Rs 95,000 crore and in such situation rates are being reduced, which is leading to reduction in price of many consumer items and benefitting the middle class.
Mounting attack on Chidambaram, the deputy CM said that states had lost confidence in the then Congress government policies, because of which GST could not be implemented during its tenure.
Modi was heading high-powered committee comprising finance ministers of different states considering roll-out of GST in 2012-13.
He alleged that following the GST rollout, centre sales tax (CST) was to be ended in phased manner over period of three years.
The UPA government had assured that loss of states due to GST will be compensated by the Centre, Modi said, adding that CST rates were reduced to 3 per cent from 4 per cent from April 1, 2007, and from 3 to 2 per cent in 2008 for which states were compensated in the beginning, but payment of 2011-12 compensation was not given.
The BJP leader said that states were not paid full compensation amount. The deputy CM said after Narendra Modi government came in power in 2014, not only states were compensated for CST, there was constitutional provision made to compensate states for any type of revenue loss from GST for next 5 years and also to enhance it by 14 per cent every year.