Headline tax rates for medicaments and medical devices are set to fall. Moreover, packaged cement, which currently attracts a tax rate of over 31% — including central excise tax, value added tax (VAT), central sales tax (CST), octroi and entry tax — will now be taxed at 28%.
All products and services will be taxed at 5%, 12%, 18% or 28% except those that are exempted. Some demerit goods will attract an additional cess over 28%. Approximately 19% goods are being taxed at 28% while 43% fall in the 18% slab. About 17% of products will attract a levy of 12% while 14% are in the 5% slab. Around 7% of goods are exempt from GST. Most services are to be taxed at 18% versus the current rate of 15%. About 40% of the CPI baskets are exempted from GST.
The GST has built in an anti-profiteering clause that requires companies to pass on the tax cuts and the gains from input tax credit to the consumer in the form of lower prices.
The tax burden will be lower in the case of medicaments — substances used for medical treatment — and also ingredients that go into ayurvedic, unani, siddha and homeopathic medication, the government has said in a statement.