Maharashtra fishermen demand to be classified as farmers, seek GST benefits
Fishermen met Mahadev Jankar, minister for animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries, last week to discuss their demands.mumbai Updated: Jun 26, 2018 10:53 IST
Fishermen from Maharashtra have demanded that they be classified as ‘farmers’ and given the benefit of lower Goods and Service Tax (GST) rates for exporting packaged seafood and related products.
Fishermen met Mahadev Jankar, minister for animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries, last week to discuss their demands.
“Industries exporting fish pay 28% GST on packaged product. This escalated cost is borne by us because the price at which companies purchased fish this year had declined,” said Kiran Koli, secretary, Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti.
He said before GST was implemented, only 12% VAT was applicable on export. Fishermen asked Jankar to pitch farmer’s status for them at the Centre. Currently, 5% GST is levied on agricultural products and frozen fish too falls in the same bracket. But overseas trade has taken a hit, said fishermen.
“Most fish is exported to China, which levies an import duty of 12.5%. This brings total tax to 40.5%, which is too much for any industry. Most of our profits would come from overseas trade, but taxes have taken their toll,” said Ramkrishna Tandel, president, Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti.
He added the delegation was assured that their demands will be forwarded to the Centre.
Fishermen also expressed concern over the ban of purse seine nets. Although banned since January 2017, they said several big players were suing the net, which was affecting the livelihood of smaller fishermen.
First Published: Jun 26, 2018 10:52 IST