Pickle makers seek exemption from GST or tax reduction.

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Pickle manufacturers, who met in Madurai on Wednesday, have demanded either exemption from GST or least a reduction from the current 12% to 5%.

Secretary of Tamil Nadu Pickle Manufacturers Association G Kandaswamy said Tamil Nadu government had earlier exemption them under VAT, as pickle was an important part of the diet people’s diet. They only paid 2% excise duty. But, now under GST, have been taxed at 12 %. 

This is an industry which has been beneficial to farmers, as lot of the post-harvest value addition is done by the pickle industry . They also prevent wastage of vegetables. “The industry  employs 10,000 rural women in the state. The pappad industry too has been given exemption, but not us,” he said.

The total turnover of the pickle industry in India is Rs 800 crore and government will not incur a major loss by exempting this industry from GST. Also, the traditional Indian pickle is listed under the HSN code, along with the western preserved foods like jams, ketchup’s and gherkin pickles, which use vinegar and brine brine for preservation. But, these preservatives are Indian pickles.

As the traditional pickle industry uses only fruits, vegetables and salt, they can gain input credit for only 30% of the pickle industry and cannot claim the remaining 70%. “If the government cannot give full exemption, GST should at least be reduced to 5%. Otherwise we would face heavy loss,” he said. Representations have been made to central government authorities, who have assured us of action, he said.

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