Govt to levy Swachh Bharat cess on select services: Revenue Secretary

New Delhi: The government will levy up to two per cent Swachh Bharat Cess on select services but only if there is a need for funds for the Prime Minister’s Clean India drive, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das said today.

Revenue Secretary Shaktinkanta Das
Revenue Secretary Shaktinkanta Das
“Swachh Bharat cess will be 2 per cent or less. Government will identify services and it will be applicable from the date of notification,” Das told PTI.

The cess, Das said, would be levied on selected services, “only if there is need of funds for the Prime Minister’s national cleanliness drive”.

In the Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed an enabling provision to levy the cess at a rate of 2 per cent or less on all or certain services, if the need arises.

Jaitley has also proposed that the service tax rate would be increased from 12 per cent plus education cess to 14 per cent.

Explaining the logic behind increasing the service tax, Das said there was a need to streamline the rate of levy with the rates to be imposed at the time of introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST). The Government plans to introduce the new indirect tax regime GST from April 2016.

Das said services contribute 60 per cent to the GDP, but 40 per cent of the indirect tax collection comes from it. “It has to be monetised.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on August 15, 2014 given a call to achieve the objective of clean India by the year 2019, the 150th year of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, through the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The Budget proposed 100 per cent tax deduction for the contributions, other than by way of CSR spending, to the Swachh Bharat Kosh.

As regards blackmoney stashed abroad, Das said “as far as foreign assets are concerned there are certain gaps which needs to be plugged”.

The government plans to bring a comprehensive law dealing with blackmoney in the ongoing session of Parliament.