GST to make foodgrains, milk, vegetables cheaper by up to 5%

The government on Thursday said common use items like foodgrains, flour, milk, vegetables and fruits will become cheaper by up to 5 per cent once the goods and services tax is rolled out on 1 July.

Under GST, common use items such as cereals, pulses, atta, maida and besan, fresh milk, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, puffed rice (muri), common salt, animal feed, organic manure, fire wood, raw silk/raw wool/jute and hand operated agriculture equipments will be subject to zero rate tax.

"Due to no GST on these items, most of them are expected to become cheaper in the range of approximately 4-5 percent as compared to their existing prices," a finance ministry statement said.

However, branded foodgrains and flours with registered trade mark will attract 5 per cent tax under GST.

While items like foodgrains, milk and vegetables do not attract any central tax at present, some states levy VAT at 4 -5 per cent on these goods.

The GST Council, headed by union finance minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state finance ministers, have now completed fixing tax slabs for various goods and services and with the GSTN backbone also ready, the new tax regime is set for a 1 July roll-out.

Goods and services have all been placed under tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, according to their classification, with the exception of precious metals and imitation jewellery which will attract 3 per cent GST and rough diamonds which will be taxed at 0.25 per cent.

The GST will subsume various central and state levies, including excise, service tax and VAT