Most of the food items will be cheaper as the GST rate on them has been kept within 5 percent range, Union minister Harsimran Kaur Badal said today. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be rolled out from July 1. “I am happy that the GST rate (on food items) has been kept within five percent range. Lot of things will be cheaper. Food items are definitely not going to be expensive,” the Food Processing Minister said at India Today’s roundtable conference here.
The minister said that she had requested the finance minister to keep food items in ‘exempt’ category or lowest GST rate slab. On being asked whether Indian food standards were in line with international level, the Union minister said the food safety regulator FSSAI was harmonising Indian standards with the global level.
Earlier, there was a delay in product approval as each product clearance used to take time and there was “stagnation” in the approval process. However the system has been fastened in the last one year, she said. “In the last one year, we have got rid of the product approval system and got on to the way it is done internationally where ingredients are approved,” Harsimran said. More than 12,000 ingredients have been approved as of now, she said.
On being quizzed whether the government has taken steps to double farmers’ income, the minister said agriculture and other ministries concerned were taking adequate measures to achieve the goal by 2022. “I believe that food processing sector will play a pivotal role in doubling farmers’ income by 2022. We are creating infrastructure so that farmers can do value addition to their produce and boost their income,” she added.