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India Cabinet approves draft GST bills

Customers buy fruit from a roadside market in the old quarters of Delhi on August 22, 2013. — Reuters pic
Customers buy fruit from a roadside market in the old quarters of Delhi on August 22, 2013. — Reuters pic

NEW DELHI, March 20 — India’s Cabinet has approved four bills to implement a planned Goods and Services Tax (GST) bills, a government official said today, paving the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the landmark tax reform from July.

The four bills are likely to be taken up by the parliament this week, and a separate state GST bill in state assemblies later, the official also said, requesting anonymity ahead of a planned news briefing.

The GST Council, comprising federal and state finance ministers, has already cleared all five draft laws — the Central GST, Integrated GST, state GST, Union territory GST and rules on compensating states for revenue losses.

There would be four tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, plus a levy on taxes on items like cars, aerated drinks and tobacco products to compensate states for any revenue losses in the first five years.

The new tax, biggest tax reform since India got independence in 1947 from the British colonial rule, is expected to boost the rate of economic growth by about 0.5 percentage points, broaden the revenue base and cut compliance cost for firms. — Reuters

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