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Hard on soft drinks, raising VAT from 12.5% to 20%: Maha Budget
March, 24th 2011

Finance minister Ajit Pawar adopted a hard stand on soft drinks, raising the VAT on them from 12.5% to 20%. Sunglasses will attract a 5% VAT.

The state government has decided to levy additional duty and tax on the electricity produced and sold in the state to fund infrastructure facilities that would be improved in areas having power-generation plants. This burden could be passed to the consumer.

Meanwhile, dry fruits are set to get cheaper with VAT dropping from 12.5% to 5%. The Mumbaikar's favourite snack, the vada pav, will also be cheaper with VAT falling by the same amount. Pawar has also decided to continue keeping the grocery list cheap, with tax exemptions to continue on LPG, rice, turmeric, chillies, coconut, cumin seeds, methi, parsley and sugar.

To please religious communities, the finance minister has proposed to exempt dhoop, loban and incense sticks from taxes.

Stamp duty on stocks and the capital market has been amended. "Transaction of securities, futures, delivery and no-delivery takes place in the share market and commodity exchanges. The transactions are charged at different rates of stamp duty, which makes collection of stamp duty a difficult task. To bring uniformity in collection of this tax, the finance department has proposed stamp duty of 0.0005% on all these transactions," Pawar said.

Pawar expressed satisfaction over the revenue collected through tax. "Last year many states enhanced VAT from 12.5% to 13.5%; in some states it was raised to 15%.

But without changing the tax rate in Maharashtra, the state has shown a record increase in the revenue collection," the finance minister said, adding, "This year too there is no proposal to increase the standard rate of VAT (12.5%)."

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