Kochi: The Kerala government has decided to avoid the GST implementation on 13 food products, state Food Minister GR Anil clarified on Saturday while urging the Centre to withdraw the decision.
"The central government should withdraw from the implementation of GST on food products. It is burdening the common people. Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) offers 13 daily use items at prices which we have from 2016. If GST is implemented, there will be a difference of Rs 3-4. It is being avoided as part of government policy. Therefore, the state government will incur a liability of more than 25 crore rupees per year. This is an additional liability," GR Anil said while addressing a press meet on GST implementation on food products.
The GST council in its 47th meeting had recommended reconsidering the approach for the imposition of GST on specified food items like pulses, cereals, flour and other edible products.
He also informed that the Union Petroleum Minister has now agreed to provide 22,000 kilolitres in a non-subsidized form to Kerala in the upcoming days.
Talking further about his meeting with the Union Food Minister, he said, "It has been demanded that the 14 lakh metric tonnes of rice given to us by the central government should be given to the priority category at Rs 8.80 as per National Food Security Act (NFSA) on the occasion of Onam festival. The Centre has not taken a decision on it. The state government will take its call after the Centre's decision."
In addition to the Supplyco outlets, it has been decided to start Onam fairs at the state level, district level and constituency level as part of the festival celebration, Anil said.
"The state-level inauguration will be held on August 27 in Thiruvananthapuram and food kits worth a minimum of Rs 1,000 will be sold to middle-class families. The same will be done during Christmas and Ramzan as well," he added.
According to the minister, the packaged Onam food kits would cost around Rs 465 crore and will be distributed amongst people after August 10.