‘Exempt all branded essential food prods under GST'

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‘Exempt all branded essential food prods under GST’
© Provided by The Times of India

Madurai: The Agrofood chamber of commerce and industry (agrofood chamber) has urged the union government to exempt all branded essential food products under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at par with the same products such as unbranded. This has been stressed by the chamber in a pre-budget memorandum for the year 2022-23 submitted to the union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. In the representation on behalf of the trade and industry, farming and agrofood sector, the agrofood chamber president S Rethinavelu said that this has been a long pending demand of the industry. “Unbranded essential food items such as rice, wheat and pulses are exempted from GST. But the same when branded attract 5% GST, making them expensive or forcing brands to disown the brand names with a disclaimer,” he said. The chamber president said that the government should encourage companies and traders to go for branded essential food items by exempting them under GST. “By going with the brand name the companies have the responsibility of giving quality products to the consumers and to promote the brand name. As brands disown their names with a disclaimer to avail tax exemption, there is a threat for misuse of their names by anyone,” he added.

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Another serious issue raised by the chamber was Circular No 10/2019 QI/17253/2019 dated May 31, 2019, on the dos and don’ts at the time of vehicle checking, survey, inspection and raids. It stated that a penalty of 200% can be levied in case of any mistake in e-way bill with effect from January 1, this year. “It is draconian and should be withdrawn immediately,” the chamber president said.

Rethinavelu said that the e-way bill for transportation is generated from the GST portal based on the information such as the registration number of the goods carrier, point of origin and destination and validity of the bill based on the distance. The tax is Rs 1 lakh or much more for a truck load of the goods and levying double of it as penalty without giving the consigner to offer an explanation is unacceptable,” he added.

They also sought one tax rate for all the products covered under one chapter for ease of doing business, deregulating the Cereals, Pulses and Staples from the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, abolition of cess levied on farm produce that are sold outside the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees and increasing the threshold limit for the service sector from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh for the benefit of small service providers.

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