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Will trim GST for masses: Prime Minister

Working on to bring 99% items in sub-18% slab, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has indicated that the Government is contemplating to bring 99 percent of goods at or under the 18 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) slab, while restricting the remaining one percent of luxury items, like aircraft, expensive vehicles, liquor, and cigarettes, to a GST slab above 18 percent. “I would like to tell you one important thing that we are heading towards a situation wherein we intend to bring 99 percent of goods at or below the 18 percent GST slab. We intend to restrict the remaining one percent of luxury items like the purchase of aircraft, expensive vehicles, liquor and cigarettes to above 18 percent. Our intention is to make GST as simple as possible. I have already made this suggestion for placement before the next GST Council meeting,” Modi said while addressing the Republic TV summit in Mumbai on Tuesday. The Prime Minister said the GST system has more or less been established in the country and his Government is committed to make the GST conducive to the needs of the common man. “In 2014, 65 lakh entrepreneurs had registered themselves for the payment of taxes. However, ever since the introduction of GST, 55 lakh more entrepreneurs have come under the taxation net,” said the Prime Minister. Alluding to the economic progress made by the country on various fronts, Modi said there was only two mobile manufacturing companies in the country in 2014, the number has now crossed 120 companies. Citing another example of “Surging India”, the Prime Minister said as many as 450 aircraft were operational in the country since Independence, but airline companies placed orders for purchase of a staggering 1,000 aircraft during the last one year itself Modi said auto-rickshaw drivers, vegetable vendors and tea sellers currently use BHIM App and carry debit cards in their pockets. “The country has already tested a Made-in-India engine-less train running at 180 kmph, while the National Waterways has become a reality with a ship sailing on the Ganga from Bengal to Benares,” Modi said. “Could anyone think four years ago that India would launch 100 satellites at one go? We are moving ahead with the Gaganyaan Mission. The Gaganyaan Mission of ISRO is intended to take an Indian astronaut into space by 2022,” he said. On the steps taken by his Government to bring economic offenders, both based within the country and abroad,  to justice, Modi made a special mention of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, and said the new legislations are helping prosecute those who had escaped the clutches of law. He said the economic fugitives and bank loan defaulters would not be spared. “Our national interest now guides India’s foreign policy.  India’s voice is being heard at international forums,” he said. During the course of his day-long visit to Maharashtra, the Prime Minister laid foundation stone for upcoming first-ever Metro Corridors in Thane district, launched a housing scheme of 90,000 homes and also performed “bhoomi puja” for Pune Metro Rail Phase-3. After performing ground- breaking ceremony for two metro rail corridors at Kalyan in the neighbouring Thane district, the Prime Minister said   by 2024 Mumbai would have 275-km long metro line. Later, while laying the foundation stone for the Rs 8,000-crore Pune Metro-III corridor,  Modi said during the past four-and-half years, the Government had constantly laid stress on infrastructure, speed of connectivity through highways, railways, airways, waterways. “No one in the country, whether in villages or cities, wants to remain insulated from the ‘development highway’ which drives the Government to focus on developing and expanding the infrastructure network in the country,” he said. “If your travel from Kargil to Kanyakumar or Kutchh to Kamrup, you will realise the speed at which development works are underway. Whatever is happening is because of the Government’s commitment, the aspirations of the local people, farmers, labourers, professionals,” Modi averred. “We are concentrating on integration of next generation infrastructure and transport from villages to cities today. With this aim, the Centre and the Maharashtra Government are strengthening the infrastructure in the State,” the Prime Minister said. Describing the Hinjewadi-Shivajinagar Metro corridor as  a “special” project, the Prime Minister said it is the first project approved under the Government’s new Metro Rail Policy for the country. “The Metro Rail Policy is ‘reform-oriented’ by ensuring the metro trains are linked with feeders, buses, new walkways, pathways developed simultaneously,” Modi said. Read more posts…
Wednesday, 19 December 2018 | TN RAGHUNATHA | Mumbai

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