NEW DELHI: School supplies like pencils and books are unlikely to get costlier under the GST regime, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said today.
In fact, most consumer goods will not become expensive from tomorrow because GST rate for 81 per cent of the items have been kept below 18 per cent tax category, he said at the Aaj Tak GST Conclave.
People have different views about the GST and their concerns are genuine, but they will gradually understand its benefits and accept the "new change and the new tax" in the days to come, he said, adding that more awareness will be created among all stakeholders.
"In last 5-10 years, prices of some of the items (of school supplies) have fallen and risen depending on the supply-demand. But in our regime, we have controlled price rise and I don't think prices (of school supplies) will increase with GST," Javadekar said.
Prices of most items will not rise because India's GST policy is "unique" unlike other countries, he said.
"We have four slabs -- zero, 5 per cent, 12 per cent and 18 per cent. Keeping in view the country's economic situation, we have kept 81 per cent of the items below 18 per cent. This will benefit consumers," he said.
According to the HRD Minister, the GST will also help generate more revenue to the government that will be used for implementation of various welfare programmes. This will also boost the economic growth.
Asked if there is sufficient infrastructure to switch to GST, the minister said, "Don't expect everything will be perfect on the first day. There will be teething problems, but that will be resolved...People are against accepting the change. When computers were introduced in banks, there was protest and resistance. But now, the picture is different."
People need to be given more time and the government will sensitise them and awareness camps will be set up at block levels, he said.
On the need to launch GST at midnight in Parliament, Javadekar said a reform like this requires celebration and there is nothing wrong in doing so. No one stopped the previous government from celebrating, he added.
Javadekar also hoped that the opposition Congress, which has said it will boycott the launch ceremony, and others will participate in the celebrations as the GST is being implemented with their full support.