Arun Jaitley
Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley.Reuters

Items of mass consumption got cheaper from the New Year on Tuesday after the government notified the reducted GST rates decided by the GST Council late last month.

At its 31st meeting on December 22, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley agreed to cut tax rates on 23 goods and services.

Computer monitors, TV screens, video games, lithium-ion power banks, retreaded tyres, wheelchair accessories and cinema tickets are among products that have been removed from the highest 28 percent bracket of the GST regime.

Among the items consumed by the common man, only cement continues to remain, along with luxury and 'sin' goods, in the 28 percent bracket as the GST Council brought down the rates of all other categories of goods in a further rationalisation that left only 27 items in the highest tax slab.

Second-hand tires, video games, digital cameras, video camera recorders, monitors and TV screens up to 32 inches and lithium battery power banks will now attract 18 percent GST.

The GST on wheelchair accessories has been brought down to 5 percent from the existing 28, which will also allow the payment of input tax credit that is not possible with zero tax, Jaitley told reporters here following the Council meeting.

Airconditioners, dishwashers and large screen TVs have been left untouched at the highest rate.

While the GST on third party insurance on goods-carrying motor vehicles has been cut from 18 to 12 percent, cinema tickets up to Rs 100 have also been granted a similar reduction. Movie tickets costing more than Rs 100 have been brought down from 28 to 18 percent.

Items which will attract a lower GST rate of 5 percent include marble rubble, natural cork, walking sticks and fly ash blocks.

Music books and frozen and preserved vegetables have been exempted from GST.

Bank services to Jan Dhan Yojana account holders will also not attract the GST.

Nearly 1,250 goods and services have been categorised under the four tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent under the GST regime.

A total of 17 items and six services have been reduced which will result in a revenue impact of Rs 5,500 crore for the full fiscal.

Taking cement and automobile parts away from the 28 percent slab would mean a combined revenue loss of Rs 33,000 crore, which the Council felt is "too steep" to be considered at this juncture, Jaitley said.

This major tax rationalisation ahead of the 2019 general elections comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently promised to bring 99 percent the goods under the 18 percent or lower GST slab.