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Traders in Kolhapur are protesting the imposition of GST on vital food products.

KOLHAPUR: Kolhapur city shopkeepers are opposed to the imposition of the goods and services tax (GST) on critical food products.

According to them, if the GST is implemented, it will damage not just enterprises but also farmers.

The Kolhapur Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) met with the GST officials and presented a petition to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The GST council, the country’s main GST body comprised of Union and state finance ministers, has suggested a 5% GST on pre-packaged and pre-labeled foodgrains, milk, honey, and a variety of other agricultural products.

“For the first time, critical commodities are being placed under GST, which would further kill enterprises,” said Sanjay Shete, president of the KCCI. Prices will rise, sales will fall, and layoffs will grow. While the agricultural industry would suffer irreversible damage. We want the idea to be rescinded as soon as possible. If the ruling is finalized, we will take to the streets and begin protesting. We will have popular support since they would be the first to suffer the burden of the levy on basic commodities.”

According to the shopkeepers, the move to include necessary commodities into the GST net will benefit huge corporate entities that have established retail outlets and food industry networks. The dealers stated that they are already feeling the effects of the e-commerce business.

“Online platforms are harming small merchants” businesses.E-commerce is not controlled; instead, we are subject to stringent rules.As a result, it will be a double blow to us if the necessary commodities that make up a big portion of enterprises are placed inside the GST net,” said Shete.

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