India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has urged the government to reinstate the exemption of GST levied on pre-packed and pre-labelled agri products.

The trade body has also raised concerns about the apprehension among traders, the unfavourable impact on farmers’ and consumers' interests, and believes that levying GST will further increase the domestic prices of pulses.

Bimal Kothari, Chairman, IPGA said, “With regards to the levy of 5 per cent GST on pre-packaged and pre-labelled agri products on basis of the recommendations given by the GST Council, IPGA is not in concurrence with the government on this specific policy.”

Kothari added, “This notification issued by the Ministry of Finance is not in favour of both the farmers and end consumers. It will hurt the interest of domestic trade which is already severely impacted by the pandemic and other market conditions.”

To take this forward to various ministries

Further, Kothari said that IPGA would be representing to various ministries and government authorities to reinstate the exemption of GST levied on pre-packed and pre-labelled agri products.

“We would like to draw the attention of the government towards the effect on the trade which is hesitant now to operate in the domestic market. India is inching toward becoming self reliant in pulses and such policies will act as speed breakers on the road of growth and progress. This is defeating the very purpose of the government’s goals of doubling farmers’ income and self sufficiency in agriculture,” Kothari said in a statement.

Further, IPGA said there is ambiguity regarding the definition of pre-packaging and pre-labelling in the Legal Metrology Act and the recent notification issued by the Finance Ministry.

“IPGA in the process of consulting legal experts for their opinion regarding the aforesaid levy of GST post which we shall put forth our suggestions to the Finance Ministry and other concerned authorities regarding the same,” he said.

With festival season around and monsoon still stabilising, IPGA is expecting further shortages of pulses in the forthcoming crop year and believes that as the apex body for the trade, it is IPGA’s responsibility to bring this to the government’s notice well in advance. Hence, any such move will further add to the downfall of the sector, Kothari said.