Traders body CAIT on Wednesday demanded the rollback of the 5 per cent GST on pre-packed and labelled food items, saying the decision has put an "unnecessary burden" on the general public and traders.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) sent a letter to chief ministers and finance ministers of all the states, demanding that the 5 per cent GST imposed on unbranded food grains and other items from July 18 should be withdrawn, a CAIT statement said.
The traders' body demanded that the GST Council must call an emergency meeting to take the necessary decision of withdrawing the recently-imposed tax on unbranded food items.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that currently no loose items or goods are being sold in the country as even the smallest item of up to 100 grams is being sold in packing.
"85 per cent of the people of the country use unbranded goods and the decision to impose tax has been opposed all over the country. Therefore, it is necessary to withdraw the tax to save the general public from unnecessary burden of extra finance and traders from extra burden of tax compliances," Khandelwal said.
The traders' body said that goods above 25 kg in a single packing have been exempted from the GST which will not benefit the general public and small traders.
"Small traders and general public of the country are also not benefited by this exemption because generally people buy goods in packs ranging from 1 kg to maximum 10 kg and they will have to pay 5% GST on them. In this era of inflation, this tax will be a double whammy on the public," Khandelwal said.
Meanwhile, representatives of various market associations held a 'mahapanchayat' and also staged a protest against the new GST tax rates under the aegis of Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) on Wednesday.
CTI Chairman Brijesh Goyal said that in the mahapanchayat it was decided that a letter signed by representatives of 100 markets would be sent to the prime minister demanding withdrawal of the GST imposed on grains, pulses, rice, flour, curd among others.
The GST Council, the highest decision-making body on the levy of goods and services tax, last month accepted most of the recommendations of a group of ministers from states on withdrawing exemptions with a view to rationalising the levy.
It was decided in the meeting that pre-packed and labelled meat (except frozen), fish, curd, paneer, honey, dried leguminous vegetables, dried makhana, wheat and other cereals, wheat or meslin flour, jaggery, puffed rice (muri), all goods and organic manure and coir pith compost would not be exempted from GST and will now attract a 5 per cent tax.
Goyal said that in the meeting a hike in licence fees by the MCD was also opposed and it was decided that CTI will constitute a joint action committee of 11 business leaders.
The committee will fight on the issue of increased trade license, factory license, house tax by the MCD and will also seek legal advice on MCD issues, Goyal said.