The ‘anti-people’ slur imposed by the opposition against the imposition of 5 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on pre-packaged and labelled food products has come as a surprise to the government.
Tax department sources claim that the decision to levy this tax was taken on the basis of unanimous consent of all states in the 47th GST Council meeting held at Chandigarh on June 29. The meeting was attended by all states, including those ruled by opposition parties.
The tax would primarily be imposed on “pre-packaged and labelled” local unbranded products such as rice, wheat, curd, lassi, papad, honey, and so on. The revised rates would be applicable on packaged and labelled products sold in containers of up to 25kgs, from July 18.
Senior officials present in the 47th GST Council meeting have stated in the media, “No state has opposed the move to bring the pre-packaged commodities under GST.”
Opposition members have taken to social media to voice their criticism. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet: “High taxes, No jobs. BJP’s masterclass on how to destroy what was once one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.”
Relief for traders
The Ministry of Finance has issued an FAQ to help traders decipher the new taxation. The document explained that food items such as pulses, cereals, rice, wheat, and flour in a single package containing a quantity of more than 25 kg (or 25 litre) would not fall in the category of “pre-packaged and labelled commodity” for the purposes of GST and therefore not attract any tax -- a move that is expected to benefit wholesale traders.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a release, called it “a big relief” for traders. Citing the FAQ, it said this “tax is applicable only on pre-packed and pre-labelled packing up to 25 kg as this is likely to keep wholesalers out of the new GST net.
Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings on Tuesday were disrupted amidst protests by opposition members on the issue of GST on new items. Opposition members from Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK and others came to the House carrying placards against the imposition of the GST on some new items.
Also Read: NSE scam: Ex-Mumbai top cop Sanjay Pandey appears before ED again - BusinessToday
Also Read: HDFC Life Q1 profit jumps 21% to Rs 365 cr; premium rose 21% - BusinessToday
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today