Tough times

Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that the decision to levy five per cent GST on pre-packed and labelled food items will cause loss of business to foodgrain traders, increase compliance burden and raise the prices of unbranded everyday essentials.

CAIT appealed to the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the Goods and Service Tax council to reconsider the decision. This decision will empower big brands to capture the market at the cost of small manufacturers and traders, CAIT said.

Items that have been brought under the purview of GST are pre-packed and labelled food items like meat, fish, curd, paneer and honey. This comes after the GST Council last week accepted most of the recommendations of a group of ministers from states on withdrawing exemptions to rationalising the levy.And the good news is that the Centre is exploring the possibility of clubbing the three GST rates of 5, 12 and 18 per cent into two, revenue secretary Tarun Bajaj said on Monday.The Centre is even willing to assess the possibility of a single GST rate, Bajaj said.