Food to be cheaper under GST: Harsimrat Kaur

Food to be cheaper under GST: Harsimrat Kaur

The food processing sector will play a vital role in doubling farmers’ income, the minister assured.

The Dollar Business Bureau

As the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate on food items has been kept within the range of 5%, most of them will be cheaper, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Sunday.

“I am happy that the GST rate (on food items) has been kept within 5% range. Lot of things will be cheaper. Food items are definitely not going to be expensive,” she said at a round table conference in New Delhi.

The Minister said that she had requested Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to keep the food items in exempt list or in the lowest tax slab under GST.

Replying to a question on whether the food standards in India were in compliance with the international standards, the minister said that the food safety regulatory body Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was harmonising standards in tune with the international level.

Earlier, she said, there were delays in approval of products as clearance for every product used to take a lot of time and there was ‘stagnation’ in the process for approval.

However, the clearance system has been accelerated in the past one year, she added.

“In the last one year, we have got rid of the product approval system and got on to the way it is done internationally where ingredients are approved,” she said.

As of now, over 12,000 ingredients have been cleared, the Minister said.

On being asked whether the Central Government has taken measures to double the income of farmers, the minister saidthat the agriculture ministry and other concerned ministries were taking ample steps to achieving this goal by 2022.

“I believe that food processing sector will play a pivotal role in doubling farmers’ income by 2022. We are creating infrastructure so that farmers can do value addition to their produce and boost their income,” she added. 

The Dollar Business Bureau - May 22, 2017 12:00 IST