The GST Council has cut tax rates on 88 items, including footwear, refrigerator, washing machine and small screen TV, while the widely demanded sanitary napkins have been exempted from the levy.
The highest tax bracket of 28 per cent has been rationalised further with rates on daily-use items like perfumes, cosmetics, toiletries, hair dryers, shavers, mixer grinder, vacuum cleaners, lithium ion batteries, being lowered to 18 per cent. The revised tax rates will come into effect from July 27.
Refrigerator, washing machine, small screen TV, storage water heaters, paints and varnishes, will henceforth attract 18 per cent GST as against 28 per cent at present. Tax rate on ethanol has been slashed to 5 per cent from 18 per cent at present. Footwear costing up to Rs 1,000 will now attract 5 per cent GST. So far, footwear up to Rs 500 attracted 5 per cent GST, and those having retail sale price of over Rs 500 attracted 18 per cent rate. In a major relief to women, the GST Council on Saturday decided to exempt sanitary napkins from the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax.
The demand to exclude sanitary napkin from the GST has been going on for a long time. To drive the point home, a group of students from Gwalior launched a campaign in January this year. The students sent sanitary napkins with the message written on them to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to exempt the taxes levied on the product and make it free of cost.
Apart from sanitary napkins, deities made of stone, marbles and woods, commemorative coins circulated by the RBI or the government, fortified milk etc have also been from the GST.
Meanwhile, GST on products like lithium-ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, food grinders, refrigerators, and cosmetics have been reduced from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. GST on handbags, jewellery box, wooden box for paintings, handmade lamps etc. have also been reduced to 12 per cent.
The GST rate cuts announced on Saturday will come to effect from July 27.