GST rate for polluting products could be higher

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said tax on environment-unfriendly products could be “distinct” from others in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to be rolled out next year. India ratified the Paris Climate Change agreement on October 2.

“The indirect tax regime that we are planning, the rate of taxation on such products which are going to be environmentally unfriendly would be distinct from the normal rate of taxation. This is one of the proposals being discussed,” Jaitley said on the eve of the BRICS Summit that begins on Saturday.

The GST rates are in the process of being finalised. The FM, who will attend the BRICS Economic Forum meeting, said the country has taxed coal and petroleum products in the past as well. Resources have to be mobilised from all sources for climate financing so that sustainable development goals can be achieved in a much more concrete manner,” he said.

Jaitley said the commitment from developed countries to fund climate change financing was insufficient and multilateral agencies needed to contribute. “Even now there is a debate as to nature of the $100 billion (that the developed world has committed for the developing nations), to fund technology transfers we do hope there is no double counting as far as the fund is concerned,” Jaitley said.

Meanwhile, the New Development Bank, popularly known as the BRICS Bank, is looking to raise funds by issuing rupee bonds. It has already issued bonds in China in the local currency. “We hope to issue, perhaps by the first quarter of 2017, a bond denominated in the rupee,” NDB vice-president and chief risk officer Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr. said.

Economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said: “They are (NDB) looking at the possibility of floating a rupee bond in India. They are already in discussion with us and the Reserve Bank. That’s one instrument of hedging the currency risk.” Das said that the Asian Development Bank has already established the efficacy of such an option by raising money at a competitive coupon of under 6.5 per cent.

The meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on Friday stressed on the need for timely implementation of the International Monetary Fund quota reforms.

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