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No GST on most edible items; Confectionery, aerated drinks in 28% slab
Saturday, 20 May, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council has decided the rates for goods at its meeting held in Srinagar recently. While there will be no tax on most edible items, processed foods were largely kept in the 12 per cent category, while some products, including confectionery products and  aerated drinks with added sugar were put in the highest slab of 28 per cent.

The initial reactions of the food processing industry was not welcoming. According to industry insiders, most of the proposed rates were in contradiction of the rates recommended by the ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI). They added, “It is a bad treatment of the food processing industry and MoFPI, whose recommendations have been ignored.”

Fresh and pasteurised milk, eggs, curd, lassi, butter milk, chenna or paneer and natural honey were kept under nil tax, while ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk, milk cream, skimmed milk powder, yoghurt and other fermented acidified milk and cream, whey, packaged chenna or paneer and packaged honey were kept in the five per cent slab.

Butter and other fats, including ghee, butter oil and oil derived from milk, dairy spreads and cheese were kept in the 12 per cent slab, while condensed milk was kept in the 18 per cent slab.

Edible vegetables, roots and tubers, including fresh vegetables, other than those in frozen or preserved state, were kept in the nil category. Some dry fruits, including Brazil nuts, cashewnuts and almonds, were kept in the 12 per cent rate slab. Amongst edible fruit and nuts, fresh fruits, other than those in the frozen state, were kept in the nil category. Others were kept in the five per cent category.

In the tea, coffee and spice categories, unroasted coffee beans, unprocessed green tea leaves fresh ginger and turmeric were kept in the nil category, while tea, coffee and spices were kept in the five per cent slab. All kinds of cereals were kept in the nil category.

Amongst products of the milling industry, flours are kept in the nil category, cereals bearing a registered brand name and hulled, rolled, flaked, pearled, sliced or kibbled cereal grains, except rice and wheat gluten were kept in the five per cent slab, while starches and inulin were kept in the 12 per cent slab and malt was kept in the 18 per cent slab.

Vegetable saps and extracts like agar agar, mucilages and thickeners were kept in the 18 per cent slab. Amongst preparations of meat and aquatic vertebrates, products such as sausages, extracts and juices of meat, fish, etc. were kept in the 12 per cent slab.

Sugar and sugar confectionery and cane jaggery were kept in the nil category, while kandsari sugar and palmyra sugar were kept in the five per cent slab, and refined sugar, containing added flavour, all goods falling under it other than palmyra sugar (lactose, maple syrup, glucose, dextrose, fructose, invert sugar, artificial honey, etc.) were kept in the 18 per cent slab, and molasses, chewing gum, bubble gum and white chocolate not containing cocoa were kept in the 28 per cent slab.

Cocoa beans were kept in the five per cent slab, while cocoa butter, fat, oil powder, etc. were kept in the 28 per cent slab.

Puffed rice, papad and bread were kept in the nil category, while mixes and doughs for preparations of bread, pastry, pizza bread, rusks, etc. will attract five per cent tax. Pastas, corn flakes, waffles, wafers, pastries and cakes will attract 18 per cent tax, while malt extracts, wafers and waffles coated with chocolate will attract 28 per cent tax.

Fruit juices (including grape must) and vegetable juices, unfermented and not containing added spirits, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter, were placed in the 12 per cent slab, while jams, fruit jellies, marmalades, fruit or nut purée and fruit or nut paste were placed in the 18 per cent slab.

Prasadam was kept in the nil category, while namkeens, bhujia, mixture, chabena and similar edible preparations in the ready-to-eat form were kept in the 12 per cent category. Sauces, ice cream, food mixes (including instant food mixes), soft drink mixes, sharbats and diabetic foods were kept in the 18 per cent slab.

Amongst beverages, plain water, non-alcoholic toddy and tender coconut water were kept in the nil category, while soy milk drinks, fruit pulp, etc. were kept in the 12 per cent slab.

Water, including mineral water and aerated water not containing added sugar or vinegar, will attract 18 per cent tax, while aerated water with added sugar and other sweetening matter or flavour, will attract 28 per cent tax.
 
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