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India's govt-appointed panel suggests standard GST rate of 17-18%

[NEW DELHI] An Indian government panel has suggested a standard rate of 17-18 per cent under the proposed goods and services tax (GST), the country's Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian told reporters on Friday.

The panel, headed by Subramanian, also backed scrapping a controversial proposal of a 1 per cent additional levy by states on the cross-border transport of goods, which the opposition Congress party has opposed.

The proposed sales tax seeks to transform the country into a common market by harmonising a mosaic of state and central levies.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has called the measure the biggest tax reform since independence in 1947 which could add as much as 2 percentage points to the growth of Asia's third-largest economy.