Speaking about GST in the context of the central excise duty rates, Mukherjee said that further convergence of central excise duty rates to a mean rate is needed to faciltate the process. The current mean rate is 8 per cent.
Since many items attract less than the mean rate, he said that there is a need for enhancing the rate on many items. However, food items and drugs, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment are the exceptions.
Other items that will retain the 4 pc rate will be paper, paperboard & their articles, items of mass consumption such as pressure cookers, cheaper electric bulbs, low-priced footwear, water filters/purifiers, CFL etc., power driven pumps for handling water, and paraxylene.
However, there are speculations that this may not happen by 2010 as there are few Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states which may proved to be non cooperative. This may post pone it by at least a year.