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Outgoing Chief Economic Adviser – Arvind Subramanian Urged to Withdraw 28% GST Slab

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Arvind Subramanian, outgoing Chief Economic Advisor (CEA), made a case about removing the highest 28 percent slab to simplify the tax structure of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He also said that there should be a uniform rate of cess on products and services.

“I think the 28 percent rate has to go. The cesses may have to remain, but there should be just one rate on cesses… Today, we have GST rates of zero, 3 percent (for gold), 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent and 28 percent. We need to rationalize but I think at the first instance the 28 percent should go,” Subramanian told to a major newspaper in an interview.

“The cesses may have to be there because we are going to have higher rates for some products but there shouldn’t be multiple rates even here. In my report, we had called for one 18 percent rate and then 40 percent rate. Cesses are a different way of implementing the 40 percent rate,” he added.

The comments have come to a couple of days before the one-year anniversary of GST implementation.

Meanwhile, Subramanian last week announced he will quit Finance Ministry as CEA, with close to a year of his tenure remaining, and return to the US for “very compelling reasons”, the second high profile exit in less than a year.

Subramanian was appointed as CEA, finance ministry, on October 16, 2014 for a 3-year term and was given an extension last year.

“My departure from this job for entirely personal reasons. It is no secret that we are expecting our first grandchild in the early September. That’s a very compelling reason that takes us back to old life of that used to lead of researching, writing, teaching and reflecting above all,” he said.

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