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Can’t tax milk, Mercedes equally: PM Modi rebuts Congress’ one GSTslab demand

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New Delhi:On the first anniversary of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Prime Minister Narendra Modi ruled out a single tax rate under the tax regime saying Mercedes car and milk cannot be taxed at the same rate but conceded that the GST is an evolving system.
In an interview to ‘Swarajya’ magazine he said that accepting the Congress party’ demand for a uniform 18% rate would lead to a spike in food and essential items’ taxation.
“It would have been very simple to have just one slab but it would have meant we could not have food items at zero percent tax rate. Can we have milk and Mercedes at the same rate?
“So, when our friends in Congress say that they will have just one GST rate, they are effectively saying they will tax food items and commodities, which are currently at zero or 5%, at 18%,” he told the magazine.
Modi who once opposed the GST as the Gujarat chief minister before turning into an ardent advocate of the new tax regime after becoming the Prime Minister in 2014, totted out statistics in support of it.
He said the GST has led to over 70%jump in indirect taxpayer base, demolished check-posts and merged 17 taxes and 23 cesses into one single tax within one year of its launch.
GST, which subsumed central levies like excise duty and service tax and state taxes like VAT, is aimed at making indirect taxation “simple” while eliminating inspector raj, he said. The new tax is an evolving system which is calibrated based on feedback from state governments, trades and other stakeholders.
Modi said against a total of 66 lakh indirect taxpayers registered since independence, 48 lakh new enterprises have registered since the launch of the GST on July 1, 2017.
“Around 350 crore invoices were processed and 11 crore returns were filed. Would we be looking at such numbers, if GST were indeed very complex?” he asked. “Check-posts across the country have been abolished and there are no more queues at state borders. Not only are truck drivers saving precious time but also the logistics sector is getting a boost and thereby increasing the productivity of our country. Would this be happening if GST was complex?”
Modi brushed aside criticism of the GST’s implementation, saying the new tax regime was a massive change, requiring a complete reset of one of the world’s largest economic systems.
“The reform merged 17 taxes, 23 cesses into one single tax. When it was finally introduced, it was our endeavour to make it simple and ensure sensitivity of the system. There are often teething troubles seen when a reform of this magnitude is carried out, but these issues were not only identified but also addressed in real time,” he said.
The GST, he said, has seen Indian cooperative federalism at its best. “We consolidated the states and developed proactively a consensus, where earlier governments had failed.”
The Prime Minister said earlier many taxes were hidden and under the GST, “what you see is what you pay.”
“The government has reduced taxes on nearly 400 groups of items. Around 150 groups of items have zero percent tax rate. If you look at the rates, for most of the day-to-day commodities, the rate has actually come down. Be it rice, wheat, sugar, spices, etc, total tax levied has been reduced in most cases. Large number of items of daily usage are either exempted or in 5% slab. Some 95% items fall in/below the 18% slab,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s comments are in sharp contrast with those of West Bengal’s finance minister Dr Amit Mitra who headed key committees on the tax regime. On the eve of the first anniversary of the GST, Dr Mitra told NDTV that the new tax had not performed up to expectations because the Centre did not carry out a pilot project to test the water and that it played only optics last July to push through the tax regime.


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Sensex sheds 298.82 to close at 38,811; Nifty shrinks to 11,650

Press Trust of India

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Mumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex erased early gains to end 299 points lower Thursday as investors booked profits after stocks soared to record highs after BJP’s strong showing in the Lok Sabha polls.

Sensex and NSE Nifty went on to record highs even as Lok Sabha election results showed that PM Modi-led NDA leading on over 300 seats. However after the euphoria during the morning session, Sensex shed 298.82 to close at 38,811 and Nifty shrank to 11,650 on the closing bell.

During the day, the Sensex hit the 40,000 mark while the Nifty crossed the 12,000-level for the first time ever. However, the indices succumbed to profit booking towards the fag-end of the session.

 

The 30-share Sensex tumbled 298.82 points, or 0.76 per cent, to close at 38,811.39. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty settled 80.85 points, or 0.69 per cent, lower at 11,657.05.

IndusInd Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 5.23 per cent, followed by Hero MotoCorp, Coal India, Yes Bank, PowerGrid, ICICI Bank, HCL Tech, L&T, Kotak Bank and Bharti Airtel, rising up to 1.56 per cent. On the other hand, Vedanta, ITC, Tata Motors, HDFC twins, Bajaj Finance, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, TCS, ONGC and Infosys fell up to 5.53 per cent.

Riding on a massive Modi wave sweeping through most parts of India, the BJP was set to return to power Thursday as it led in 298 seats while the Congress trailed far behind with 52, according to trends released by the Election Commission for all 542 seats that went to polls.

“Markets were initially enthused to see the election results falling in line with the exit polls. However, the run up to the D-day was so sharp that it turned out to be a sell on news phenomenon,” said Devang Mehta, Head – Equity Advisory, Centrum Wealth Management.

Participants would now be keen to know the future course of action for bringing the economy back on track, solution to the liquidity situation, the union budget, onset and progress of monsoon in June and most importantly the earnings trajectory, he added.

According to traders, weak cues from other global markets and a depreciating rupee also weighed on investor sentiment. The rupee depreciated 37 paise to 70.04 against the US dollar in afternoon trade. Globally, bourses in Asia ended in the red.

Indices in Europe were also trading on a negative note in early deals. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was trading 1.79 per cent lower at USD 69.72 per barrel.

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Silver up on increased offtake; gold steady

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New Delhi: Silver prices rallied by Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg in the national capital on Thursday, while gold held steady, according to the All India Sarafa Association.

Traders said silver prices rose on pick-up in offtake by industrial units and coin makers at the local spot market. Globally, spot gold was trading marginally higher at USD 1,276 an ounce, while silver was slightly up at USD 14.53 an ounce in New York.

In the national capital, gold of 99.9 per cent and 99.5 per cent purity dropped by Rs 10 each to Rs 32,670 per ten 10 gram and Rs 32,500 per 10 gram. Sovereign gold, however, held steady at Rs 26,500 per eight gram.

 

Silver ready surged Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg, while weekly-based delivery fell by Rs 66 to Rs 36,234 per kg. Silver coins held flat at Rs 79,000 for buying and Rs 80,000 for selling of 100 pieces.

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India PC mkt declines 8.3 per cent to 2.15 mn units in Jan-Mar qarter

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New Delhi: Personal Computer (PC) shipment in India fell by 8.3 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2019 to 2.15 million units, registering a year-on-year decline for the third consecutive quarter, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Besides, big commercial deals, market remained weak due to weak consumer demand, high inventory from previous quarters, and supply issues for Intel chips.

Shipments in the consumer segment saw a 26.5 per cent dip in the said quarter compared to the year-ago period. The commercial PC market saw a total shipment of 1.35 million units in the said quarter, a growth of 7.3 per cent over last year.

 

“The announcement of central elections on March 10, 2019 resulted in the model code of conduct coming into immediate effect further resulting in a delay in execution of government projects and impacting the commercial segment,” IDC said in a statement.

However, IDC expects the overall PC market in India to witness a growth in the second quarter. The commercial market is expected to pick up post new government formation in May, while the consumer market is expected to pick up largely driven by back to school campaign by vendors and online sales.

HP maintained its leadership position with an overall market share of 28.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, followed by Dell (25.9 per cent), Lenovo (25.2 per cent) and Acer (11.7 per cent).

The notebook PC (laptop) category accounted for 61.4 per cent of the shipment and witnessed a 9.8 per cent year-on-year decline.

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