CHENNAI: The decision of the government of India to levy 5 per cent Goods and Service Tax (GST) on packaged food may increase the price of rice from Rs 3 to Rs 5 per kilogram in Tamil Nadu from Monday.
The Tamil Nadu rice mills association and traders in a statement on Sunday said that the centre has issued notification bringing rice, maize, and other essential food commodities under 5 per cent GST from July 18 onwards.
The rice merchants and rice mill association have urged the Tamil Nadu government to exert pressure on the Union government for a roll back to bring the food products under GST. Around 3000 rice mills and thousands of rice merchants had protested against bringing the essential commodities under GST slab and had shut shop on Saturday.
The rice mill owners and rice merchants had in a petition to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, stated that according to the Supreme Court rulings, GST recommendations are not binding for the state government.
M. Sivanandan, State Secretary, Tamil Nadu Rice mill owners association, while speaking to media persons said: “The GST council had imposed taxes on registered rice brands in 2017 but had exempted unregistered brands. The exemption is now withdrawn and all pre-packed rice brands will now have 5 per cent GST.
While loose rice may not fall under the ambit of GST, the state food department has directed all shopkeepers to ensure that rice and other food products are sold in packed form under the FSSAI Act.
Several mill owners, however, said that implementing 5 per cent GST from Monday may not be practical as many of these mills don’t have GST numbers. The mill owners want more time for the mills to get GST numbers.