A tax authority's decision to subject parotas to higher GST compared to the humble roti has triggered a storm on social media.
According to the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) (Karnataka bench), parotas would be subject to a higher GST rate of 18% as compared to 5% for rotis.
The ruling came after a Bengaluru-based food manufacturer sought clarity on whether parotas can be categorised in the same classification as khakhara, roti, or plain chapatti.
The company, ID Fresh Food, which deals in ready-to-cook meals, had approached AAR seeking a ruling on the GST rate applicable on whole-wheat parotas and Malabar parotas.
The food manufacturer was of the view that parotas should be categoried under the 'khakhara, roti, or plain chapatti'.
But the authority pointed out, khakra, roti or plain chapatti are cooked products, hence they are categorised as ready-to-use food products under the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
However, parotas need to pre-heated before consumption and thus cannot be classified in the same category.
"The products covered under heading 1905 (rotis) are already prepared or completely cooked products and no further process is required to be done on them for consumption and hence they are ready to use food preparations," the ruling stated.
"In the instant case the impugned products are admittedly not ready for consumption, but need to be heated before consumption. Thus the impugned products do not merit classification under heading 1905," it added.
The authority clarified that not all Indian breads can be categorised as rotis, which are generic.
The ruling became a butt of jokes and memes online with people seeking 'justice for parota'.
Many netizens wondered what would happen to kulchas and naans, while others asked if luxury tax would be levied on keema parotas.
Mom- Beta, roti kha le.— Dr House, M.D. (@HOUSEQuarntined) June 12, 2020
Me- Mummy Paratha bana do, achar se kha lunga.
Mom -*paratha is not roti, 18% GST lagega*
GST Joke— Rajesh Sawhney (@rajeshsawhney) June 12, 2020
Laccha Paranthas : 28%
And a new category of taxation for Amritsari Kulcha: 38%