Policy

GST anomaly on tetra packs caused revenue loss of ₹948 crore to govt, says Think tank

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 13, 2021

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch says tetra-pack wrongly categorised in 12% GST slab

GST anomaly on tetra packs caused a loss of ₹948 crore to the exchequer and unquantifiable loss to the environment, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch said on Monday. It says tetra pack is a multi-material (plastic, aluminum and paper) aseptic packaging.

The forum, a non-profit organisation, aims to bring together the key stakeholders, that include government, corporates, media, academicians, to tackle packaging pollution and lead the country towards environmental sustainability.

“Due to its cardboardish appearance, tetra-pack is wrongly categorised in the 12 per cent GST slab reserved for paper-based aseptic packaging, while other aseptic packaging containing plastic or aluminum or multi-materials attract 18 per cent GST rate,” the forum said. It further noted that during the last four years, more than 3,950 crore tetra pack units were produced in India. Approximately, 3,000 crore tetra packs have been dumped into the environment, which have leached various toxins into water bodies and soil, it said.

“Due to the GST anomaly, tetra packs have become a source of unethical tax saving for brands. We have requested the Finance Ministry and the GST council to amend the tax slab. This will compel the profiteering industries to not overlook the environmental impact while selecting the packaging for their products,” Vinod Shukla, President, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch said.

Tax loss

Giving details about loss, the forum said that the average cost of a tetra pack is ₹4, which should attract 72 paise as GST (18 percent). However, due to the anomaly, a single pack attracts a GST of 48 paise (12 per cent), which translates into a tax loss of 24 paise per tetra pack. Taking into consideration the 3,950-crore production figure, a loss of 24 paise will lead to a tax loss of ₹948 crore for the government since the introduction of GST in 2017.

It said that tetra pack is one of the least collected and recycled aseptic beverage packaging materials, globally. The recycling economy is almost non-existent for the used tetra pack, since it is very difficult to recover materials from its waste and the demand for products made from recycled tetra packs is negligible.

Published on September 13, 2021

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