The haleem on your plate is now on the radar of Goods and Services Tax (GST) department, with officials suspecting that most outlets selling them are evading tax. At least 80 top restaurants with hundreds of outlets that are raking in the moolah without generating bills have been identified, sources said. The haleem business in the city during Ramzan is estimated to be worth nearly Rs 800 crore. ‘Hyderabad haleem’, which has received the Geographical Indicator tag, is also exported to several countries. Even cooks from Hyderabad are taken to places such as California in the US and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to make and sell fresh haleem. With no proper bills, the GST Intelligence sees huge evasion of taxes and have begun verifying the volume of income. Business establishments have to submit their GST returns in three months as per the Act, but most of the businesses that submitted the GST returns for 2017-18 failed to show the volume of haleem business.
The price of the popular dish ranges from Rs 150 to Rs 190. “There are around 5,000 units of various restaurants, hotels and individuals setting up makeshift haleem-selling centres in the city. Usually, during Haleem season biryani sales fall. Haleem selling units create large employment where thousands depend on it,” Hyderabad Haleem Makers Association President M A Majeed told TOI. But unlike when GST on food was 14.5% and people would have found it tough to pay the tax, now with GST only 5%, all haleem outlets would be ready to pay, Majeed said. “Most orders are on food apps such as Swiggy, Zomato and Uber Eats. Obviously, they are billed. But those individuals who sell it from makeshift units are very poor and want to make some money during the season,” Majeed said.