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RBI gives thumbs up to 18 per cent GST rate

RBI gives thumbs up to 18 per cent GST rate

New Delhi: Implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will have a short-lived impact on inflation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Tuesday while endorsing a government panel report that suggested 18 per cent indirect tax rate to keep the impact on prices minimal.

In its monetary policy report, the RBI said cross country experience suggests that the pass-through of the GST will likely commence from April 2017 and last for about 12-18 months.

“While the creation of a unified goods and services market would reduce supply chain rigidities, cut down on transportation costs and also bring down costs in general through improvements in productivity, it could also produce a short-lived pass-through to the inflation trajectory,” it said.

While the impact of GST on Consumer Price Index-based inflation would largely depend on the standard rate decided by the GST Council, almost 50 per cent of the CPI is expected to be exempt.

“Cross-country experience indicates that the GST implementation might have one-off effects, which tend to dissipate after a year of its implementation,” the RBI said.

Endorsing the Finance Ministry’s report on GST structure, the RBI said the dual rate GST structure with a standard rate of 18 per cent and a low rate of 12 per cent (consistent with a revenue neutral rate (RNR) of about 15-15.5 per cent) is expected to have a minimal impact on inflation.

If the standard rate is increased to 22 per cent (with an RNR of 17-18 per cent), the impact on aggregate inflation would be in the range of 0.3-0.7 per cent, concentrated in select groups like healthcare (excluding medicines).

As the standard rate increases from 22 per cent to 26 per cent and 30 per cent, the impact on CPI would increase from 0.6-1.3 per cent and to 1.0-1.9 per cent (with input tax credit), respectively.

“The general consensus is that the impact on consumer price inflation is likely to be moderate if the standard GST rate is at 18 per cent – in fact, overall price levels may go down due to more efficient allocation of factors of production,” it said mentioning an NCAER report.

Over the medium-term, the RBI said the implementation of the GST should boost business confidence and investment, brightening the environment for an acceleration of growth.

Touted as the biggest tax reform since independence, the GST will subsume excise, service tax and other local levies.

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Posted on

October 6, 2016

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