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HomeFact CheckNo, GST Rates Not Reduced For Electronic Items, Viral Graphic Misinterpreted

No, GST Rates Not Reduced For Electronic Items, Viral Graphic Misinterpreted

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Claim
Central government has slashed GST rates for TVs, fridges, phones, among other household goods, making them cheaper.

Fact
Viral graphic compares pre-GST and post-GST rates.

Several social media users are circulating a purported graphic on GST rates for household goods, claiming the government has recently reduced the rates, particularly on electronic items, effectively making them cheaper. A few media outlets, too, published articles on this “reduction” in GST rates.

According to the graphic, the GST rates on TVs, washing machines and refrigerators have been reduced from 31.3% to 18%, while for mobile phones, it has been slashed from 31.3% to 12%.  “In a major relief for the people of India, the Union Finance Ministry has announced a reduction in Goods and Service Taxes (GST) on the purchase of electronic items on the 6th anniversary of the GST implementation,” read a Zee News report, dated July 3, 2023. Similar news reports can be seen here and here.

The archived versions of the tweets can be seen here and here.

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Fact Check

Newschecker ran a keyword search for “GST reduced tech products”, which led us to this India Today report, dated July 3, 2023, stating that there is no change in GST rate for mobile phones or other electronic items on July 1. We learnt from the report that the viral graphic was tweeted by the Ministry of Finance on June 30, 2023, marking six years of GST. The GST day is observed on July 1 every year to mark the Goods and Services Tax implementation. The indirect tax system came into force on July 1, 2017, after being launched in a ceremony held in parliament on the midnight of June 30.

We did not come across any official announcement from the government on a reduction in GST rates, barring the viral graphic that was meant to mark GST day. We, however, came across this PIB press release on the 6th GST Day event at New Delhi, presided over by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“Sitharaman particularly emphasised the positive impact of GST on consumers by reducing their tax burden and recalled that on many common use items, tax incidence under GST has become lower as compared to Pre GST rates such as Tea, Milk Powder, Hair Oil, Toothpaste soap etc. Even after implementation of GST, rates have been pruned on common use items to reduce the burden on consumers, the Finance Minister said. These include goods such as common household items like kitchenware, furniture, electrical equipment, bathroom & toilet fittings, refrigerators, TV, certain food items etc,” read the release, indicating that the finance minister compared pre-GST and post-GST rates. A tweet by Sitharaman’s office, dated July 1, 2023, summarising her speech on the 6th GST Day, spoke about how tax under GST has been lower compared to pre-GST tax rates.

According to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs’ website, the current GST rates, as of April 1, 2023, for refrigerators and TVs is 18%, confirming that no change has been made recently.

Interestingly, the CBIC tweeted out the same graphic on July 4, 2023, posting the tax rates on various household items before and after the implementation of GST, clearly marking them as pre-GST and post-GST, instead of the confusing “Earlier” and “Now” headings used in the Ministry of Finance’s tweet.

We also learnt that there are four primary GST slabs — 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, contradicting the alleged “earlier” GST rate of 31.3%

We reached out to Pritam Mahure, CA and GST expert, who confirmed that the viral graphic is about pre-GST and post-GST rates. “This graphic was put out by CBIC to mark the 6th anniversary of GST and highlight the achievements of the GST regime. I agree, there has been a reduction in tax rates for numerous household goods under the GST system by doing away with multiple taxes like excise, VAT, LBT/octroi, among others. To an extent, you can say that the GST has achieved its objective of ‘one nation-one tax’.”

Also Read: Video Showing Post Office Up In Flames In Philippines Shared As Library Torched By Rioters In France

Conclusion

Viral graphic comparing pre-GST and post-GST rates of certain goods has been misinterpreted.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Ministry of Finance tweet, June 30, 2023
CBIC tweet, July 4, 2023
Tweet, Nirmala Sitharaman Office, July 1, 2023
Conversation with Pritam Mahure, GST expert

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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Kushel HM
Kushel HM
Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

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