'Puja samagri', Gandhi topi, India's national flag to be exempted under GST

While khadi has been exempt, all other categories of fabric will attract a 5 per cent rate tax under the GST

The Goods and Tax Services Council has decided to include ‘puja samagri’ in the list of items to receive tax exempt along with Khadi yarn, Gandhi topi and the national flag, while imitation jewellery, pearls and coins are to carry 3 per cent levy from the next month.

Whereas rudraksh, wooden khadau, panchamrit, tulsi-kanthi mala, panchgavya, sacred thread, vibhuti, chandan tika, unbranded honey and wick for diya have made it to the safe list, five other ‘puja samagri’ – lobhan, mishri, batasha and bura – generally used as religious offerings will attract 5 per cent GST.

In the textiles category, blankets and travelling rugs, curtains, bed linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen, of terry towelling or similar terry fabrics costing below Rs. 1,000 will attract a 5 per cent tax.

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Also, napkins, mosquito nets, sacks and bags, life jackets costing below Rs 1,000 would be taxed at 5 per cent. While those costing above Rs 1,000 will attract a 12 per cent levy. Silk and jute yarns have been exempt but cotton and natural fibres and all other yarns will be levied a 5 per cent GST.

Man-made fibres will, however, attract 18 per cent rate. All categories of fabric, except khadi which has been exempt, will attract a 5 per cent rate.

Besides, Gandhi topi and India’s national flag have been exempt from tax under the GST. Man-made apparel costing below Rs. 1,000 will attract 5 per cent tax, lower than the existing 7 per cent. Those costing above Rs. 1,000 will continue to attract 12 per cent. Besides, match boxes, packed organic fertiliser will face a 5 per cent tax in the new regime.

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The GST Council, comprising Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his state counterparts, has already fitted almost all goods and services in the tax brackets of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent.

The tax department has also put up on its website the list of items which would be exempt from Integrated GST (IGST) under multilateral or bilateral commitments in respect of imports by privileges persons, organisations, authorities and foreigners.

IGST is a tax which will be levied by the Centre on inter-state movement of goods and services. It is not a new tax since the credit for IGST payment can be claimed while paying the CGST or SGST.

Foodstuffs, medicines, medical stores of perishable nature, clothing and blankets, imported by a charitable organisation as free gift to it from abroad and meant for free distribution to the poor and the needy have been exempt from the IGST.

Besides, goods imported by the Red Cross Society for purposes of relief to distressed persons, and drugs, medicines and medical equipment required for the treatment of the victims of the Bhopal Gas Leak disaster has also been exempt.

Also fuel in the tanks of the aircraft of an Indian Airline or of the Indian Air Force, subject to the condition that the quantity of the said fuel is equal to the quantity of the same type of fuel which was taken out of India in the tanks of the aircraft of the same Indian Airline or of the Indian Air Force, has been exempt from IGST.

Besides, exemptions have been given for research equipment imported by public funded research institutions or a university or an Indian Institute of Technology or Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore or Regional Engineering College, Research institutions, other than a hospital, Departments and laboratories of the Central Government and State Government, other than a hospital, and Regional Cancer Center (Cancer Institute).

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