After the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, several local food brands have gone off the market. This has left regular buyers of packaged food items like rice, dal, sooji and atta perplexed about their sudden non-availability.
A case in point: At one of the wholesale outlets which used to sell 35 registered brands, 25 have changed the logo. The trademark of Mother India rice has now become MI and Angoor tur dal has been changed to `PCR’ brand.The reason: Packaged food commodities with registered brand or trademark have been taxed at 5% under GST while the unregistered brands attract no tax. Earlier in the value added Tax (VAT) regime, all kinds of food items were exempted from tax.
“The concern among traders and consumers is that the new policy has created a nonlevel playing field of sorts with price variation. This has also led to a situation that many suppliers are applying for de-registration of their brands,” said D P Nagendra Kumar, principal chief commissioner, central board of excise and customs (CBEC).
While a few suppliers of packaged food items have opted for de-registering their brands, many have preferred to change the trademark and logo on the packet so that the commodity could be sold at a cheaper price.
“About 75% of the suppliers have changed the logo on the packet; only 25% of them have applied for de-registration.This is because the government is thinking of taxing those have de-registered too, while the unregistered brands enjoy no-tax benefit,” said Rameshchandra Lahoti, president of Bengaluru Wholesale Food Grains and Pulses Merchants Association.
Officials in the CBEC said the government chose to exempt the un-registered brands of packaged food from tax just to protect small traders from competing with organized business brands. “However, the move has resulted in an unexpected scenario wherein the price difference among the similar kind of commodities is disturbing the balance,” said an official.
Lahoti said while an average price of tur dal is Rs 100 per kg, a registered brand costs Rs 5 more. Similarly , rice that is being sold at Rs 50 kg costs Rs 2.5 more if it’s packed in a bag, sporting a registered trademark.
B T Manohar, chairman of taxation committee at Karnataka Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI), said the FKCCI had received representations from traders seeking a tax policy that ensures a level-playing field for all. “The traders are demanding that food products be exempted from GST. If be taxed, then let the food products be classified under a special slab on the lines of gold jewellery,” said Manohar.
Nagendra Kumar said the government had taken note of the discrepancy and the GST Council is expected to discuss it at its meeting in Hyderabad on September 9.
Every year, during Ganeshotsav, the Food and Drugs Administration collects samples of sweets from various eateries to keep a check on adulteration.
The Food and Drugs Administration is reaching out to Ganpati mandals and food vendors to raise awareness and educate them on food safety measures.
Every year, during Ganeshotsav, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) collects samples of sweets from various eateries to keep a check on adulteration. Besides the annual testing of samples of mawa, barfi and other sweets, this year the FDA also conducted a one-day workshop for food vendors who sell sweets near Ganpati pandals as well as mandal members on food safety and hygiene.
FDA Commissioner Dr Pallavi Darade said, “We will be conducting regular checks on adulteration like we do each year. But this year we called up few mandals registered with the BMC, advising them to track and take precautions at their end on the quality of prasad and food items distributed,” she said.
Over 70 mandals and sweets vendors attended the workshop conducted by FDA and FSSAI.
Besides safety, hygiene measures while making the
sweets were also discussed.
“This initiative is one step ahead of the regular anti-adulteration drive,” Darade said.
DIAL A COMPLAINT
Devotees can complain about adulteration in food on FDA helpline number: 1800222365.
‘Poisonous food’ kills man, wife in Dholpur
Asked if some third person of family or outside could be behind the foul play and involved in poisoning the food of family, the officer, said, “It is too early to jump on any conclusion. All these things would be ascertained by post mortem and Viscera report.”
The incident occurred in northwest Delhi’s Jahangirpuri on Saturday night but it came to light early Sunday morning. Around 4am, the victim’s brother called up the police and told them that his sister was lying unconscious in her flat while her four-year-old daughter was locked up in a room.
The woman, Simran, was taken to a hospital where she was declared brought dead. She was four months pregnant. The husband was nowhere to be found.
The daughter told cops that her parents would often quarrel because of her mother’s chappatis. “My mother was a good cook but the chappati shape angered my father,” she said.
The couple had a live-in relationship for a year before getting married five years ago. His business had flopped, forcing him to work at a factory for the last two years