Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday vigorously defended the government’s handling of inflation, saying that the GST regime did not inconvenience families in India. Addressing MPs in parliament that day, Sitharaman compared current prices to those six months before the UPA left power as she tried to prove her point. During a debate at the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, she also cleared the air about what attracts GST and what does not.
The Treasury Secretary clarified doubts about the GST rule for certain items as she said there is no GST on checkbooks for bank customers, trying to expose “misinformation” on issues related to the imposition of the levy on various products. and services. Also, there is no GST on crematorium, funeral, burial or mortuary services, the minister said, explaining that the goods and services tax has been levied on the construction of new crematoria. Sitharaman further shared that there was no GST on ICU beds in hospitals.
Clarification regarding GST on checkbooks and cash withdrawal
A GST has been levied on the purchase of printed checkbooks by banks from printers, Nirmala Sitharaman said, adding that there is no tax on checkbooks used by ordinary bank customers. She added that there is also no tax on cash withdrawals from bank accounts.
“I would like to say there is no GST on withdrawing cash from a bank,” Sitharaman replied to a brief discussion of price increases in the Rajya Sabha. “I want you to bear in mind that with regard to the consumer or the bank client who takes the money, withdraws the money, there is no cost to him,” said Sitharaman. She also informed MPs about the number of free cash withdrawals that banks allow from ATMs.
Sitharaman clarifies regarding GST on hospital beds and crematoria
Regarding the claims that GST is levied on crematoriums, the minister said it made it clear that there is no such levy on crematorium, funeral, burial or mortuary services. “The GST Council is accused of charging the crematorium. You’re going to bury your dead, you’ll be charged… No,’ said the minister. She said the GST only applies to the construction of new crematoria. “So please don’t let us be guided by misinformation,” the finance minister added.
A GST has only been levied on hospital rooms whose daily rent is more than Rs 5,000 and not on hospital beds or ICU, she said.
Parliament’s ongoing monsoon session has witnessed several disruptions by the opposition after GST was imposed on several prepackaged and labeled essential items. “More I listen to issues related to GST, I’m concerned that the correct information is probably not going to be reached. And as a result, there are quite a few misconceptions and I would try to dispel some of these misconceptions today,” said the minister.
(with PTI inputs)
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