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India not interested in high sales tax rate: finance minister

[NEW DELHI] India's federal and state governments are not interested in imposing higher goods and services tax (GST) rates that could hurt people, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told lawmakers in the lower house of parliament on Wednesday.

The proposed GST would harmonise a mosaic of state and central levies into a national sales tax which business and policy makers hope would boost manufacturing and reduce corruption.

A government think-tank proposed the GST rate be set at 27 per cent, well above the global average of 16.4 per cent for similar taxes.

Mr Jaitley said the proposed rate would be too high and needs to be "much more diluted".

REUTERS