Rajahmundry: Even though GST came into effect on July 1 there is a lot of confusion among traders, especially those dealing with packaged commodities, on whether to sell them either at the old or new rate. As per rules, commodities packed before June 30 are supposed to be sold to customers at the MRP fixed earlier and those packed on or after July 1 have to be sold after imposing GST. However, this rule seems to have failed to reach most traders resulting in confusion and trouble for customers.
As the price of a many packaged commodities have been revised either upwards or downwards, unless traders have clarity about the price at which they are supposed to sell, customers will be losers as they have to shell out high prices for all commodities which are priced less under GST. All food grains including rice have zero GST but when rice is sold as a packaged commodity with specific brand names it invites five per cent GST. However, rice millers want more tax on packaged rice as the five per cent GST is inadequate for them to meet the cost of polishing, packing, transportation and other expenditures. But the Centre seems to have made its stand clear that only five per cent GST will be permitted on packaged, branded rice.
The legal metrology de-partment says that all pa-ckaged commodities pa-cked before June 30 have to be sold at old rates and that details like name of manufacturer, date of manufacture, date of packing, MRP and expiry date have to be mentioned on the pack. They have asked consumers to insist that traders sell packaged commodities only at old rates and have asked them not to pay more than the MRP even if traders claim enhanced GST.
For instance, a 300 ml bottle of Coca-Cola costs Rs 16. After GST, its price has gone up to Rs 18. Traders have been asked to clear old stock first before releasing new stocks into the market. Fertilisers have been given exemption as they have to be sold at the new rate. The Centre has sla-shed the present tax of 12 per cent to five per cent after GST.
According to an estimate nearly 10 lakh tonnes of fertiliser stocks exist in the country and all stocks have to be sold at the new rate. Legal metrology assistant commissioner M.N.S. Madhuri said, “We appeal to all traders to sell packaged commodities packed before June 30 at the old MRP rates. Customers should insist on it.”