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India's lower house of parliament passes key tax reform bills
March 29, 2017 / 3:40 PM / 6 months ago

India's lower house of parliament passes key tax reform bills

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley attends a seminar on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) issues during the Vibrant Gujarat investor summit in Gandhinagar, India January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday passed key legislations, putting Asia’s third-largest economy on course to launch a nationwide goods and services tax (GST) from July.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley aims to roll out the new sales tax from July 1 that will subsume a slew of federal and state levies, transforming a nation of more than 1.2 billion population into a single market.

What Jaitley calls the biggest tax reform since independence in 1947 is expected to boost economic growth by about 0.5 percentage points in its first year of implementation.

The four bills, passed by the lower house, would next be presented before the upper house of parliament.

Proposed tax rates range from 5 to 28 percent, with 12 percent and 18 percent being the standard rates. It has not been decided yet which tax rates will apply to which categories of goods.

Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Malini Menon

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