India's govt-appointed panel suggests standard GST rate of 17-18 per cent

 Arvind Subramanian, chief economic adviser at India's Finance Ministry.
Arvind Subramanian, chief economic adviser at India's Finance Ministry. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - An Indian government panel has suggested a standard rate of 17-18 per cent under the proposed goods and services tax (GST), the country's Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian told reporters on Friday (Dec 4).

The panel, headed by Subramanian, also backed scrapping a controversial proposal of a 1 per cent additional levy by states on the cross-border transport of goods, which the opposition Congress party has opposed.

The proposed sales tax seeks to transform the country into a common market by harmonising a mosaic of state and central levies.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has called the measure the biggest tax reform since independence in 1947 which could add as much as 2 percentage points to the growth of Asia's third-largest economy.