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With the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Indian government introduced one of the biggest post-independence taxation reforms. GST is primarily devised to maintain a uniform indirect tax structure across the country. It aims to eliminate the cascading effect of central and state taxes that were levied previously. India’s immigration to this tax regime has helped the concerned officials turn 17 different kinds of indirect taxes into a single form of tax. This uniformity in the taxation scheme across India is undoubtedly a great development. 


In India, goods and services are categorised under GST slab rates for taxation. The GST rates are levied for each section depending on whether the good or service is a need or a luxury. Items of need are taxed at a lower rate while items of luxury are taxed in the higher bracket. However, there are some goods that are excluded from GST, with one of the most recent products being sanitary napkins.

What are GST Slab Rates

The GST regime covers about 1,300 types of goods and 500 types of services. It is, thus, classified into mainly four, notable GST slab rates, i.e. 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%. To ensure the effectiveness of this scheme, a GST Council was set up to revise the rates whenever deemed necessary to keep up with evolving times. Thus, there is a periodic change in the GST rates on various products.

The following table lists down the categories that fall under each GST slab rate.

Levied GST Rate

Type of Product


Cut and semi-polished stones




Household essentials, coal, Indian sweets, life-saving drugs


Processed foods, computers


Capital goods, industrial intermediaries


Luxury items, sin goods

Learn more about the GST rate on labour charges.

List of Items Under 5% GST Slab Rate

Products (Goods)


Agarbatti, Biogas, Insulin

Leasing of aircrafts

Snow and ice, Walking sticks, Natural cork

Renting a motor cab (without fuel)

Indian sweets (mithai)

Tour operator services

Edible oil and spices, Coffee and sugar, Life-saving drugs, Cashew nuts/cashew nuts in shell

Scheduled transport by air or travelling via chartered or non-scheduled flights (used for pilgrimage purposes only)

Stamps/stamp postmarks

Goods transported in a vessel from outside the country

Appliances/equipment that aid the disabled

Print media ad space

Coir mats and floor coverings, Fertilisers, etc.

Transport services in AC vehicles and radio taxis, etc.

List of Items Under 12% GST Slab Rate



Frozen meat

Hotel accommodation (Between ₹1,001 and ₹7,500 per day)

Sauces/Ketchup/Mustard sauce

Real estate construction for the purpose of sale

Dairy items (apart from milk)

Food and beverages (at restaurants without AC and liquor licence)

Fruit juices

Intellectual Property rights on a temporary basis

Sewing machines

Goods transported in a vessel from outside the country

Handmade matches

Rental accommodation (Above ₹1,000 and below ₹2,500 per day)

Jewellery box

Air travel tickets (excluding economy)

Diagnostic kits

Chit fund services by foremen

Notebooks and exercise books, Plastic beads, Corrective glasses, etc.

Railway coaches, wagons, and rolling stock (sans refund of ITC)

List of Items Under 18% GST Slab Rate



Dental wax, Aluminium foil, Toothpaste, Plastic tarpaulin, Baby carriages

Food and drink at restaurants (with AC/heating and liquor licence)

Industrial electronics and transformers

Supply of food and party arrangements

Power banks (Lithium-ion batteries)

Government Job Contracts

Pencil kajal sticks, Headgears, Television set-top boxes, Televisions (up to 32-inch)

Entertainment (circus, folk theatre, cinema, drama)

Furniture (made from bamboo)

Outdoor catering

Stationary (staplers and pencil sharpeners, etc.)

Movie tickets (Above ₹100)

Hair oil, Shampoos, Weight-measuring devices (excluding electronic), Computer monitors (below 17-inch), etc.

Hotel accommodation (over ₹7,501 per day), etc.

List of Items Under 28% GST Slab Rate



Air conditioners




Washing machines


Lotteries (state-owned/authorised)




Aerated beverages, Caffeinated beverages

Sports events (IPL, ISL, etc.)

Yachts, Aircrafts, Tobacco products, etc.

Food and drinks (5-star hotels), etc.

List of Goods Exempted Under GST



Natural honey

Sanitary napkins

Hotel accommodation (Below ₹1,000 per day)

Colouring and picture books (for children)

Children’s drawing books


Music books

Palmyra jaggery

Preserved vegetables

Hulled cereal grains, etc.

The implementation of GST has successfully impacted the Indian economy. Apart from the simplified tax structure, the other positives include increased exports and an increase in pricing competition. 


For more information on GST, remember to visit Bajaj Markets.

GST News

The Finance Ministry Begins the Process of Choosing the Convener of the GST Rate Rationalisation GoM

V The Finance Ministry of India has recently started the process for the selection of a convener of GoM for the GST Rate Rationalisation.


GoM is a group of ministers committees established under the GST Council of 2021 led by the former CM of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai. According to insiders, the current Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, has a solid Finance portfolio that qualifies him for the role. The decision will be made only after a discussion among all members of the GoM.

- June 12, 2023

GST Reductions for Hybrid and Flex Fuel Vehicles are Both Being Considered by the Centre

In order to promote low and/or no-pollution vehicles, the government recently proposed lowering the Goods and Service Tax on flex-fuel vehicles. The proposal is to reduce the current 28% GST to a mere 5%. It is also contemplated that the current 28% GST rates on hybrid vehicles would be slashed down to anything between 12% or 18%. According to sources, there are no plans to bring down the GST on diesel and petrol vehicles.


The environment-friendly initiative is going to be a welcome step for automobile manufacturers who are on the lookout for introducing more flex-fuel vehicles in the Indian market.

- May 25, 2023

The Finance Ministry Evaluates Various GST Rates for Games of Chance and Skill.

The online gaming industry contributed more than ₹2,200 Crores in GST revenue in the post-COVID era. The GST council has been strategising to bring uniformity among gaming platforms, horse races, and casinos by introducing GST 28% GST in the online gaming sector.


The tax treatment will be different for luck and skill game categories. Online games that require a skill set will be taxed at 18%, while luck-based games will have 28% GST levied on them. The discussion is said to conclude the meeting held in May or June with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

- May 11, 2023

Wooden Ice Cream Spoons and Sticks are Subject to a 12% GST Rate: AAR

The Karnataka AAR bench has recently issued their judgement that a 12% GST will be applicable on the wooden ice cream sticks and spoons in an advance ruling. Ragu Packaging Bangalore (applicant) stated that these semi-finished products are imported and are covered under FSC.


The applicant further added that the wood used in sticks and spoons does not involve any chemicals or compression method and, therefore, is classified under HSN code 4421.91.90. However, the AAR bench has classified wooden ice cream sticks and spoons under the HSN code. 4419.90.90 where 12% GST is eligible.

- May 11, 2023

The GST Council is Anticipated to Decide the Online Gaming Tax Rate at its Upcoming Meeting

In the upcoming GST Council Meeting, due to be held in June’23, the GST rates for the online gaming sector would most probably be determined. According to sources from the finance ministry, the upcoming meeting would take up the report of the Group of Ministers on online gaming, casinos and horse racing.


In the previous GST Council meeting that was organised in New Delhi on 18th February, the report, which was submitted by the chair of the Group of Ministers (GoM) and Shri Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, could not be conferred.


The current GST rate for gambling and online gaming is 28%. Other games attract 18% of GST on the GGR, gross gaming revenue. The GoM proposed a 28% pf GST on all online games on the entry amount.

- May 08, 2023

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