THE CHANDIGARH Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill got a nod from President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday.“The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST) Act 2017 which was notified on Thursday shall be unanimously applicable to all the Union Territories except Delhi and Puducherry. The GST is likely to come into force from July 1,” said a senior officer of the UT Administration.
It is said that the levying of GST will reduce the prices of goods and services now. After GST, all the indirect taxes like services tax, excise duty, value added tax, entertainment tax, luxury tax and octroi will be merged into GST. The slab rate structure will be 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.
Foodgrains will attract zero per cent rate, 5 per cent rate will be on essentials like dairy products and other necessary goods required for daily use such as soaps. While 12 per cent and 18 per cent are standard rates, most of the goods will fall in this category. Electronics, mobile phones, cosmetics and all fast moving consumer goods will come under the 18 per cent tax. On luxury cars, aerated drinks and tobacco, 28 per cent tax plus a compensation cess are to be imposed.
However, it is only taxes like road tax, toll tax, stamp duty, electricity duty and duty on alcoholic drinks for human consumption which will continue to be levied even after GST.
Experts believe that with the introduction of GST, the UT Administrator would lose some of his powers. “GST in Chandigarh will now be monitored by the Central government. There will be no power with Chandigarh Administrator with respect to levy of indirect tax in Chandigarh. All the decisions shall now be taken by Central government after recommendations from GST Council,” said Keshav Garg, CA, faculty for GST, indirect tax committee of ICAI.
Until now, Chandigarh had adopted the system of Punjab VAT wherein substantial powers with respect to levy, exemption and appointments were vested with the administrator. The tax will now be monitored by the Central government. The administrator will now only appoint commissioners and other officers who will implement the Act, as per the GST bill.
City-based traders maintain that the GST is a good move but the administration needs to spread awareness about it. “GST will now bring in a uniform tax structure. There was a lot of variation in the prices of goods even in Chandigarh, Panchkula or Mohali. Now a commodity which costs me Rs 1,000 here will cost me the same in Mumbai too. However, a lot of awareness needs to be spread,” said Anil Vohra, president of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.
Vohra added, “Seminars need to be organised, especially for the small traders as they have no idea of GST. The administration can prepare small documentaries and screen them at markets.”