Finance Minister K Balagopal said that the state government ‘will not compromise on this’, even if it leads to a tussle with the Union government.

File image of Finance Minister KN BalagopalKN Balagopal
Atom GST Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 09:51

Amid growing protest over the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on essential commodities, the Kerala government on Tuesday, July 19, said that it does not intend to tax items sold by entities like Kudumbashree, or small stores in 1 or 2 kg packets. State Finance Minister K N Balagopal told the Kerala Assembly that the decision might lead to issues with the Union government but the state was not ready to compromise.

"At any rate, in Kerala we don't intend to tax items which are sold by organisations like Kudumbashree or in small stores in 1 or 2 kg packets or in loose quantities. Even if this will lead to issues with the Union government," Balagopal told the Assembly. "We are not ready to compromise on this. We had already said this there. We don't intend to levy it on small-scale traders and small stores. There can be no argument on this," Balagopal said in the Assembly. Kerala government's Kudumbashree is considered one of the largest women empowerment projects in the country.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought an urgent intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of the imposition of GST on essential commodities, arguing the move will severely affect the common people. In a letter to the Prime Minister, CM Vijayan pointed out that many small shopkeepers and millers pre-pack and keep the items ready for sale so that the customers can readily purchase them off the shelf, rather than spend time getting the items weighed and packed.

In the letter, Vijayan said such pre-packing is a common practice in most of the retail shops in Kerala and the present change will have an adverse impact on the large number of ordinary customers who frequent these shops for their essential purchases.

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