If the real estate sector is brought within the ambit of GST, it should be along with the stamp duty and moderate rate, and should not add to the cost of housing and construction, according to an industry body.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said the Centre is certainly in favour of realty under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) but the states have to be brought on board because there are revenue implications.
There are reports that the realty sector may be brought under the GST without stamp duty and other levies like property tax. That will serve no purpose and instead would lead to more confusion, Assocham secretary general D S Rawat said.
“If the sector has to be given a boost, it should be brought under GST along with stamp duty with the rate being moderate and should not add to the cost of the housing or construction,” Rawat said.
“That would be a real demand push. In any case, there is no justification for cement still remaining in the 28 per cent category,” he said.
The Assocham official also expressed his views on whether petroleum, electricity and alcohol should be brought under the GST.
He said ideally all these sectors, be it real estate, petroleum, electricity and alcohol, should be brought under the GST. But, expectations have to be matched with what is doable at this point of time.
As far as the petroleum sector is concerned, Rawat said, the states are certainly not on board as they depend hugely on the revenue from sale of petrol and diesel. Similar is the case with the Centre, he said.
“So, it will take a lot of time and would also depend on the kind of revenue impact the initial period of the GST rollout has shown,” Rawat said.
“Ideally from the consumer point of view, if petroleum is brought under GST, the pump prices of petrol and diesel would come down drastically, but that would be asking a bit too much at this point of time. Let’s be real,” he said. Rawat also said that electricity must be a part of the GST regime under the “merit and essential items attracting the lowest level (rate)”.
“For alcohol, even if it is brought (under GST), it would be under the demerit list and may even attract additional cess. But for administrative point of view, it makes sense to bring it under GST,” he added.