22nd January, 2018

Cement-industry mellowed under 28% GST

The exclusion of cement from the list on which the Centre slashed the GST rate to 18 percent from 28 percent has the Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) disappointment. The government recently removed 178 items from the 28 per cent slab.

The government decided to retain cement in 28% tax bracket as reducing rate may lead to a revenue loss of Rs 15,000 crore.

The retention of the cement in the 28 percent GST bracket, along with luxury items such as washing machines and air conditioners, is quite unfortunate. The cement, though, is integral to the government’s key schemes such as housing for all, Swachh Bharat-related constructions and building of other key infrastructure projects, but, no tax relief has been introduced in this category.

In the recent GST rejig, tax rates on over 200 items, ranging from chewing gum to chocolates, to beauty products, wigs and wrist watches, were cut to provide relief to consumers and businesses amid the economic slowdown.

The top tax rate of 28 percent now seems restricted to luxury and demerit goods only.

“Considering that our industry has the ability to contribute immensely towards employment and GDP growth, it would have been appropriate to place it, at least, under the 18 percent slab,” expressed CMA.