Chandigarh, Nov 24: Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking immediate withdrawal of 5 per cent GST on food stuff in containers intended for free distribution to the economically weaker sections of the society.
Dubbing the imposition of this tax as a "retrograde step", Amarinder stressed on the need to introduce welfare programmes for the economically weaker sections (EWS) at a time when farmers were reeling under debt and committing suicide, underlining the increasing gap between the rich and the poor.
Citing the draft notification on this new tax, the chief minister said such a tax would have the sole effect of the state government being taxed by the Centre for running welfare schemes, as the states would be required to pay CGST on such items.
Seeking Jaitleys personal intervention in the matter, the chief minister demanded a review of the decision and roll back of the decision in larger public interest, according to an official release here today. The GST Council, in its 22nd meeting on October 16, 2017, decided on a 5 per cent GST on food preparations in unit containers, meant for free distribution to economically weaker sections of the society, it said.
Under the notification, CGST has been pegged at 2.5 per cent and the state government will also be charged at the same rate, it said.