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  • Dry fruits industry petitions PM Modi to exempt them under GST

    Jun 2nd, 2017

    Country's nuts and dry fruits industry has petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for exempting them like fresh fruits under the proposed goods and services tax citing their health benefits, particularly for the vegetarian population. Industry has highlighted how increase in taxation under GST would lead to increase in imports through the barter trade route from the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir hurting the domestic trade as also leading rise in alleged funding of stone pelting and terrorism, which is currently being investigated by the National Investigation Agency.

    Association of Agro Importers has represented to the centre, the GST Council and state governments that most of the dry fruits did not undergo any processing and hence needed to be exempted. Fruits and vegetables have been exempted under the GST. Nuts and Dry Fruit Congress on the other hand have said that these should be placed in the 5% bracket."For the vegetarian population nuts such as almonds and walnuts are the only source of high quality protein and Omega 3 as well as highest anti-oxidents. The proposed GST rate of 12% instead of VAT rate of 5% would inflate the prices by about 7%," a statement from Association of Agro Importers said. Various health nuts & fruits are grown in India as well as imported for direct consumption as natural agro product. Whether grown in India or abroad, the same are as they come off the tree, only cleaned / sorted /shell removed / peeled before they are consumed or moved into the market for further processing into value added products, it said.

    Presently, all these health nuts under Chapter 8 (Harmonized classification system) attract 5% VAT and additionally custom duty is charged, if imported. It pointed that the Food Safety Standards Authority did not distinguish between raw / fresh health nuts and fruits. The association pointed that nuts imported via J & K under barter trade policy of Ministry of Home Affairs are free from any kind of duty/tax and also out of the GST purview resulting into uneven level playing field.