India to cut tax rates on some goods, services from Jan. 25

India's Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley can be seen in this file photo.(Reuters)
Updated 18 January 2018
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India to cut tax rates on some goods, services from Jan. 25

NEW DELHI: India will cut rates on some products and services under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST), the finance minister said on Thursday, in a bid to encourage greater compliance as revenues have dipped since the landmark reform was announced in July.
The Goods and Service Tax Council comprising federal and state finance ministers, agreed to lower tax rates on 29 goods and 53 services from Jan. 25, Arun Jaitley said after the meeting.
Businesses have raised concerns about high rates of taxation and cumbersome processes in GST, billed as India’s biggest tax reform in 70 years.
Asia’s third-largest economy faces the risk of missing its fiscal deficit target in the current fiscal year as lower revenue collection from slowing economic growth and teething troubles with value-added tax launched in July hit the economy.
The goods on which GST will be lowered include biofuel- run buses, used motor vehicles and diamonds and precious stones.
Tax on sales of liquefied petroleum gas by private firms for domestic use has been reduced to 5 percent from 18 percent.
In the services segment, India will cut taxes on transportation of crude, gasoil, gasoline, jet fuel and services relating to mining, exploration and drilling of oil and natural gas, among other things.
Jaitley also said the council would consider including petroleum products under GST in the next meeting, but did not give details.
The South Asian nation’s tax collection plunged after GST was implemented in July, which hit the economy and complicated tax filings for business.
The country’s tax indirect tax collections have been falling since the launch of GST, reducing to 808.08 billion rupees ($12.66 billion) in November from 940.63 billion in July.
To curb tax evasion, the government plans to roll out online monitoring of inter-state transport of goods beyond 50,000 rupees from next month.


Do not hijack Brexit, UK trade minister warns Britain’s parliament

Updated 9 min 9 sec ago
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Do not hijack Brexit, UK trade minister warns Britain’s parliament

  • Theresa May returns to parliament on Monday to set out how she plans to try to break the Brexit deadlock
  • Time is running out for Brexit, Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years

LONDON: Parliament cannot be allowed to hijack Brexit, Trade Minister Liam Fox said on Sunday, in a warning to lawmakers who want to take more control over Britain’s departure from the European Union.
With just weeks to go before Britain is due to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May will return to parliament on Monday to set out how she plans to try to break the Brexit deadlock after her deal was rejected by lawmakers last week.
She will also speak to ministers on Sunday on a conference call, a government source said, as the prime minister tries to navigate a way through the competing visions for the future from a second referendum to staying in the EU.
Time is running out for Brexit, Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years, but so far there is little that unites a divided parliament beyond its rejection of May’s deal that envisages close economic ties with the EU.
Britain’s main opposition Labour Party is pressing for a new election and for May to rule out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, while others in parliament are lobbying for anything from a second referendum to leaving without an agreement.
Fox, a Brexit supporter, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that May’s divorce agreement with the EU was still the best basis for a deal and warned lawmakers against trying to take more control of Britain’s departure.
“Parliament has not got the right to hijack the Brexit process because parliament said to the people of this country: ‘we make a contract with you, you will make the decision and we will honor it’,” Fox said.
“What we are now getting are some of those who were always absolutely opposed to the result of the referendum trying to hijack Brexit and in effect steal the result from the people.”
Britain voted with a 52 percent majority to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum that exposed deep divisions across the country, divisions that still split cities and towns, and the country’s parliament, almost three years on.
After seeing her deal rejected by more than 200 lawmakers last week, May has opened talks with other parties to try to find a way to break the deadlock.
But with Labour refusing to take part until May rules out leaving without a deal, some lawmakers fear those talks will change little and instead have said they will launch attempts next week to force the government to change course.
Several are trying to make sure Britain does not “accidentally” leave without a deal on March 29, a scenario some businesses say would be catastrophic for the economy.
“What happens when you have a hung parliament is that power does pass from government ... to parliament and that’s what we are seeing play out,” Nicky Morgan, a Conservative former minister, told Sky News.
She said she was backing a bill that would force the government to extend Article 50, which triggered Britain’s two-year talks to leave the EU, if it cannot get an agreement approved by parliament by the end of February.
Dominic Grieve, another Conservative lawmaker, is also looking at ways to stop Britain from leaving without a deal.
With much of the focus now on Labour, its Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said there was now only really two options that could find majority support — a future close economic relationship with the EU or a second referendum — and that it was increasingly inevitable that Article 50 would be extended.
“We’ve arrived at phase three and therefore we need to be realistic about what the options are,” Starmer told the BBC.
“Let’s ... reduce it to the options that are at least capable of getting a majority and that is a close economic relationship and a public vote.”