I see convergence of GST tax rates in coming days: Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that he expected convergence of two Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates into one in the coming days, though ruling out a single rate of taxation under the new indirect tax regime.

“I see two standard rates converging into one in future. The GST Council may decide on convergence of rates at appropriate time,” Jaitley said here at the inaugural session of ‘India Summit 2017’ organised by The Economist magazine.

He, however, ruled out a single standard GST rate as it would be inflationary for a disparate range of consumers and added that one tax rate was inequitable.

He noted that GST implementation was quite smooth without any major glitches.

All goods and services under the pan-India GST regime, which has subsumed multiple central and state levies, have been categorised in four tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, besides those items that attract zero tax.

The Finance Minister had earlier said, “We can converge some taxation in the future. 12 per cent and 18 per cent can be converged into one. But if we make a single rate of 15 per cent now, then items like food, which is consumed by poor people, will get hit.”

Touching upon the resolution of non-performing assets (NPAs) of public sector banks (PSBs), Jaitley on Thursday said that it was not possible to have a surgical solution to bad loans.

“Government is trying to resolve the NPA issue of PSBs on a priority basis and has taken various steps in this regard,” he said.

Jaitley said the government was actively considering PSB merger as banking decisions need to be taken on commercial considerations.

He added that depending on affordability, the recapitalisation needs of banks would be met.

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