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Advocate Rajnish R. Singla

The Essential Goods (Declaration and Regulation of Tax on Sales or Purchase) Act,1952 was enacted in the year 1952 to declare certain goods to be essential for the life of the community. Under the Act 15 categories of goods were declared and States were restricted from imposing tax on Sales or Purchases of those goods subject to the Assent of The President.

Later The Central Sales Tax Act, 1956. was enacted and earlier Act was repealed, but spirit of certain goods to be essential for the life of the community was kept alive in the shape of certain goods to be of special importance in inter State trade or commerce. Under the Act 18 categories of goods to be of special importance in inter State trade or commerce were declared.

Surprisingly Model GST Law draft is saying Good Bye to the goods of special importance.

Legal maxim of natural justice is  Nihil quod est inconveniens est licitum: anything which causes inconvenience cannot be lawful.

Therefore, I request to the Government to declare following Goods & Services to be Essential for life under the GST law.

Goods Essential for life –

  • Agricultural implements
  • Books, Exercise books, Paper, Pencils, Pen, Periodicals, Journals, News Paper
  • Cattle Feed, Cattle fodder
  • Cereals, Pulses, Fresh Vegetables and Fruits, Oil seeds, Edible oils, Gur, Sugar, Salt
  • Coal, Coke
  • Cotton, Cotton fabrics, Textile, Readymade garments
  • Hides and Skins
  • Iron and Steel
  • Information and Technology products, Solar products, Renewable Energy devices, Battery operated vehicles
  • Jute
  • LPG for domestic use
  • Milk, Milk products
  • Woolen fabric

Services Essential for life –

  • Health Care Services, Naturopathy Services, Yoga Services, Diet when provided by an Individual
  • Educational Services up to certain level
  • Legal Services when provided by an Individual
  • Postal Services
  • Telecommunication Services, E-Commerce

After declaring above Goods & Services to be Essential for life, specific provision should be made in the GST law that No State shall impose or authorises to impose any tax on declared Goods & Services to be essential for life except with prior assent of the President.

Further, this list should be known as “Positive List”.

 Positive in the sense- positive for public, positive for government, positive for all.

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June 2024