Central Govt Spent Over Rs 132 Crores On GST Ads, Reveals RTI Query
On July 1, 2017, the Indian government gave up on its erstwhile system of indirect taxation, only to adopt a seemingly efficient mechanism of indirect tax known as the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The government’s responsibilities certainly did not end there as it had to invest large sums of money just to educate us on GST and upgrade the old infrastructure. So much so that the Central government has spent a whopping Rs 132.38 crore on advertisements for GST.
The Central Government spent a large sum of money on GST
Reportedly, the Bureau of Outreach and Communication under the Ministry Of Information and Broadcasting revealed the information while replying to an RTI query. According to the Times Of India, the response, dated August 9 stated that expenditure on GST ads through this particular bureau on print media was Rs 1,26,93,97,121. While expenditure on electronic media was “nil”, it spent a total of Rs 5,44,35,502 on outdoor media advertisements.
Days before the actual launch of the new tax system in 2017, the central government had started campaigning for GST in order to create awareness among the masses. From hoardings to full-page adverts in leading dailies, the Central government did not leave any stones unturned when it came to promoting GST. Even Amitabh Bachchan had been roped in to promote the various benefits of GST, although sources suggest that a fee was not charged by him personally. Moreover, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) had also issued 50 FAQs on GST in the form of full-page advertisements in various dailies.
What is the GST?
GST or Goods and Services Tax is a new system of indirect taxation in India which brought many individual taxes under the ambit of one single tax, on July 1, 2017. The GST is governed by the GST Council and its Chairman is Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The government had categorised 1211 items under four tax slabs, 5% 12%,18% and 28%.
However, on November 15, 2017, The GST Council had slashed tax rates on a host of household products such as chocolates, toothpaste, shampoo, washing powder and shaving creams to 18% from 28%. In its latest meeting, the Council slashed tax rates of more products or exempted them from the ambit of GST altogether.