SRINAGAR, Mar 8: Stating that biscuit manufacturers, especially in the SME sector, are hard hit because of unjustified imposition of Goods & Services Tax (GST) at a very high rate of 18%, B P Agarwal, president, Indian Biscuits Manufacturers’ Association (IBMA) today said that there is urgent need to bring down the GST rate to 12% to avoid stagnation in growth of the industry.
“The growth in the industry has started to stagnate since the imposition of the 18% GST and there is urgent need to bring down GST rate to 12%, as biscuits are common product of consumption from a rickshaw puller to a low-wage laborer in search of hygiene, energy and nutrition at a low cost”, Agarwal said during a press conference held here today.
He said that similar food products are subject to lower GST rates, such as Sweets (5%), Processed Dry fruits (5), Tea (5%), Juice, Namkeen, Jam/Jelly, Noodles, Pasta, Tomato Ketch-up (all 12%) while GST at 18% is imposed on Biscuit. “We urge the Government to review their decision of imposing 18 % GST on biscuit industry”, he added.
Anoop Bector, MD of Cremica Biscuits added that “Biscuit is made of agricultural products like wheat, vegetable oil, sugar and milk and higher production of biscuit would benefit larger number of farmers. Biscuit is highly Labour intensive, and stagnation in growth in production would adversely affect the industry which is estimated to provide employment to about 7.5 lakh workforces directly and more than 30 lakh persons indirectly in marketing, retail network, transport etc”.
“Biscuit industry is subjected to escalation in cost of inputs/ingredients due to higher cost of transportation, fuel, packaging, wages etc”, said Pankaj Agarwal, CEO of Bonn Biscuits while Deepak Bherwani, Director, Krown Biscuits, said that lowering the rate of GST on biscuit would result in higher production and would not affect revenue to the Central and State Governments. Deepak Bherwani, Director, Krown Biscuits.