Published: Mon, July 23, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Finally, sanitary napkins to be exempt from GST

Finally, sanitary napkins to be exempt from GST

"In a remarkable move, Piyush Goyal during the 28th GST Council Meet announced to exempt Sanitary Napkins from the GST".

"The GST Council cuts tax rate on an array of products".

The central government has got one step closer to women by exempting sanitary napkins from the Goods and Services tax regime (GST). Apart from that the council has now put sanitary napkins under the exempted category.

The GST charged for commodities such as lithium-ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, food grinders, mixers, storage water heaters, head dryers, hand dryers, paint, varnishes, water cooler, milk cooler, ice cream coolers, perfumes, toilet sprays and other toiletries has been slashed from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. It was the first time that Piyush Goel chaired the meeting of the GST Council. He said, the decisions taken today will be applicable from 27th of this month.

However, the decision to raise quarterly filing of returns from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 5 crore annual turnover, may not actually materialise, fear tax experts. The council also simplified the return filing process for small businesses. According to the Finance Ministry, quarterly return shall be similar to main return with monthly payment facility but for two kinds of registered persons - small traders making only business-to-business and business-to-consumer enterprises supply.

He said rate cuts on handicrafts items such as deities made of stone, marble and woods, phool jharoo, Rakhis etc. was a long pending demand of the sector. Perhaps the GST rate structure might witness more meaningful rationalisation with jewellery now cosseted with a soft three percent GST visited with a say a five percent tax that can not possibly be resented by either women or jewellers.

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Congress lawmaker Sushmita Dev, who past year had launched an online petition with Change.org demanding total removal of taxes on pads, welcomed the government's move saying that it is a victory of more than four lakh citizens who had signed it.

The council also gave a major relief to the hotel industry by providing that tax rate shall be based on transaction value instead of declared tariff.

The council also deferred the implementation of reverse charge mechanism by another year and now it will come into force from October next year.

The Council has also cleared over 40 amendments, including increasing threshold for composition scheme to Rs 1.5 crore and allowing multiple registration for businesses, to the GST law.

"I think all women will be happy to know that sanitary pads will now have 100-percent exemption. By imposing 12% GST on sanitary napkins, the government has tried to make a mockery of women", said Pooja Singh, Secretary of the NGO.

GST on handmade carpets and handmade textile floor coverings has been reduced from 12 per cent to 5 per cent.

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