GST rate cuts: Interesting reactions as Modi wows middle class before 2019 – Who said what

By: | Updated: July 22, 2018 1:10 PM

GST rate cuts: GST council took a number of decisions including exemption of sanitary pads from GST, reducing GST rates on footwear, small televisions, water heater, refrigerators, lithium-ion batteries, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, food appliances etc.

Mixed reactions on the outcome of 28th GST Council meeting in New Delhi did the round on social media (Image: Twitter)

Mixed reactions on the outcome of 28th GST Council meeting in New Delhi did the round on social media on Saturday. The council took a number of decisions including exemption of sanitary pads from GST, reducing GST rates on footwear, small televisions, water heater, electric ironing machines, refrigerators, lithium-ion batteries, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, food appliances and ethanol etc. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac termed the Council’s decision as “undemocratic and non-egalitarian.” Issac also said the rate cuts on consumer durable items like television, fridge etc betrays class bias of proponents. Issac further said instead of consumer durables, the council should reduce the rates of daily necessities.

Issac tweeted, “If anyone considered GST revenue buoyant enough to argue for a reduction in rates they should have reduced rates of the necessities. Maybe even made them tax-free. But reducing the taxes for durables from GST 30-40 per cent to 18 per cent only betrays class bias of proponents.” In a separate tweet, Kerala Finance Minister said, “It is most unfortunate that GST Council without circulating in the agenda notes should decide to reduce the tax on 18 consumer durables ie tv, fridge etc from 28 per cent to 18 per cent disregarding consequences to revenue and equity. Undemocratic and Non-egalitarian.”

Congress party welcomed the decision to put sanitary napkins out of GST and said the Centre has paid heed to the reforms suggested by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Congress tweeted, “We’re happy to see that the Modi Govt has paid heed to the GST reforms suggested by Congress President @RahulGandhi. The latest being the reduction in taxes on sanitary napkins.”

Sushmita Dev, Congress MP from Assam’s Silchar also praised the central government over exempting the sanitary napkins from GST. Dev tweeted, “I hear that sanitary napkins have been exempted from GST. I want to thank all the people who signed my petition #taxfreewings. Clearly, the government had put forth frivolous arguments for one year & delayed it.”

Noted columnist Chetan Bhagat tweeted, “A bit surprised that skill-based certificate programs offered by educational institutions are subject to 18% GST. Most countries don’t have it. Govt should consider making education GST free.”

Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states welcomed the government’s decision to exempt sanitary napkins from GST. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar tweeted, “A welcome decision to exempt sanitary napkins from GST at the 28th #GSTCouncilMeet chaired by Shri @PiyushGoyal. An important step by @narendramodi Govt. that is vital to the health and well-being of women and girls.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Major step in ensuring good health and hygiene for women! Thank you Union Minister @PiyushGoyal ji for reducing GST on sanitary napkins to 0% (100% exemption) in today’s # GSTCouncilMeet! GoM had been constantly follow up with GoI for this demand !” In a separate tweet, Fadnavis thanked the Centre for excluding handicrafts from stone, marble, wood and rakhi from GST list. “My sincere thanks for also excluding handicrafts from stone, marble, wood and rakhi from GST list. Small traders and small entrepreneurs would get major relief from this decision. This shows the vision and commitment to serve the last man!” Fadnavis tweeted.

BJP Lok Sabha MP Poonam Mahajan thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for keeping his promise. In a tweet, Mahajan said, “Thank you Hon. PM Shri @narendramodi ji for standing by your promise to abolish GST on sanitary napkins.”

Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari called the reform as a big relief to middle-class people and poor. Gadkari tweeted, “The reduction in GST rates of key products is a huge boost for the middle class and the poor . I congratulate the GST council and my colleague Sri @arunjaitley ,Sri @PiyushGoyal for this commendable move .#GoodandSimpleGST.”

Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani tweeted, “Thankful to GST Council and Minister @PiyushGoyal for exempting Sanitary Napkins from GST; a welcome step towards encouraging menstrual hygiene among young girls and women. #GoodandSimpleGST.”

Several industry bodies also lauded the efforts of GST Council. Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association said the move will create more employment opportunities and domestic manufacturing.

Speaking to PTI, CEAMA president Manish Sharma, who is also the CEO of Panasonic India and South Asia said, “This is a welcome move by the government which has come at an impending time when we are just about to prepare ourselves for the upcoming festive season.” Sharma further added,”The reduction of GST slab on television sets of up to 26 inches from 28 per cent to 18 per cent will certainly improve the penetration and affordability of the product in smaller towns across the country.”

Haier India president Eric Braganza said, “This should be a good boost to the industry. This would stoke the demand. Hopefully, we would see good growth in the Washing Machine for the rest of the year and good business in the AC next year,” reports PTI.

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