Don’t tax branded rice under GST, cut taxes on procurement:

  • Don’t tax branded rice under GST, cut taxes on procurement: Vijay Setia, president, AIREA

    Vijay Setia, president, All Indian Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), spoke on critical issues currently impacting the exporters and millers.

    tax branded rice, GST, GST rule, new GST rules, taxes on procurement, rice procurement, AIREA, rice exporters in India, GST council, GST regime, basmati rice shipment India’s basmati rice exports have seen fluctuations in fortune in the last couple of years because of factors such as slowing down in shipment to Iran. (Image: Reuters) India’s basmati rice exports have seen fluctuations in fortune in the last couple of years because of factors such as slowing down in shipment to Iran, the country’s biggest export destination for aromatic long-grained rice, and delay in settlement in payments from importers. Vijay Setia, president, All Indian Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), spoke to FE’s Sandip Das on critical issues currently impacting the exporters and millers. Edited excerpts: What are the key issues rice exporters and millers would be facing post GST scenario? Although the GST council has recommended 5% taxes on branded rice while exempting the cereals from taxes, we feel that it would make rice sold to economically weaker section costlier. In the current scenario, the processor has to put several information such as name of the company, date of packing etc. as per requirement of weights and measures department and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India on the rice pack. This would make the rice pack as ‘branded’ thus inviting taxes. The next GST council meeting must address the issue as the government has already promised zero tax on rice under GST regime. States with high local taxes such as mandi fees, arthia (commission agents) commission – 2%, rural development cess (2%) etc. on grain trade mostly prevalent in Punjab, Haryana and others. It should be reduced drastically in the post GST roll out. Because of higher taxation, processors or millers are not willing to set up units in these key producing states. You have been pitching for stopping prevalent practice of documents against acceptance (DA) in non-basmati rice exports while in case of basmati rice shipment, DA has been stopped by the commerce ministry. What are the measures AIREA proposes for exporters to follow so that there are no delays in settlement of payment for rice exported? Because of the prevalence of DA, mostly resorted by small sized basmati rice exporters had become a buyers’ market. Often, consignments are not lifted from the port by importers, and thus, the price has to be renegotiated leading to lower realisation. In a fiercely competitive basmati rice exports trade, small players in order to increase the volume of shipment often send rice consignment to importers who use this unsecure credit to their advantage. We feel that because of the practice of DA, the country’s basmati rice shipment has seen a 29% fall to Rs 22,714 crore in FY16, from a record Rs 29,291 crore reported in FY14. However, the volume of basmati exports has risen from 3.7 million tone (MT) to more than 4 MT in the same period. In FY17, despite lower shipment to Iran, our exports declined to around 5% to Rs 21, 605 crore in comparison to previous fiscal. Thus we has urged government to end the practice of DA in exports of non-basmati rice as well. Basmati rice exporters are currently following two modes – cash against document (invoices are delivered to the importer only against payment) and letter of credit (importers instruct their bank to pay exporters as per the specified conditions mentioned in the original documentary credit). These two methods which are followed widely globally.
     
    After a sharp fall in basmati rice exports in the last couple of years, what is the prospects of aromatic rice shipment in the current fiscal? In the current fiscal, the realisation from basmati rice exports are set to increase compared to last few years. We have been looking at new market for shipment of basmati rice. Overall in the current fiscal the outlook for exports is quite bright.
  • PDS rice worth Rs 3 crore seized in raids across Telangana

  • HYDERABAD: The raids conducted by the enforcement task force of the civil supplies department in the past three months have thwarted diversion and illegal transportation of huge quantities of PDS rice worth over Rs 3 crore. The crackdown was carried out in 179 areas in the state and criminal cases were registered. The enforcement wing has five task force teams comprising 20 retired police officers and officials of the revenue, commercial tax and civil supplies departments as well. Civil supplies commissioner CV Anand claimed the raids helped check the illegal transportation of rice worth Rs 3,16,73,701. The task force seized 3,507 quintals worth of commodities. Paddy worth Rs 1 crore, sugar worth Rs 2.15 core, LPG cylinders, kerosene and 937 quintals of rice meant for sale at fair price shops through Public Distribution System (PDS) were seized.  The frequent raids, in turn, have pushed up the performance of mandal-level stock (MLS) points and FP shops across the state, officials said.
    The department has also stepped up vigil at TS borders to check illegal transportation of PDS rice to other states. In the 2015-16 Kharif season the department recovered 4,525.701 tonnes of rice from illegal trade but only 1,192 tonnes in the 2016-17 season, said officials.
  • Direct procurement scheme to reduce rice prices across Kerala

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    Image for representational purpose only.
    KOCHI: Once cooperative societies and the Consumerfed implement their plan to purchase rice from other states directly, rice will be available at prices lower by `10 than the current market price in Kerala. The consumption pattern shows ‘matta’ rice continues to be the favourite of Malayalis, followed by Jaya and Kuruva. The state government plans to form a consortium of Consumerfed and primary cooperative societies, which will raise a capital of Rs 100 crores. According to Cooperation Department special secretary P Venugopal, a pilot project will be launched using the fund raised by the consortium. “A special purchase committee comprising members of cooperative societies, which procure rice from other states, has been formed. “It will hold talks with rice mill owners and paddy procuring societies in states like Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Since profit is not the motto, consumers can be sure of getting rice at lower prices,” said Venugopal. Two types of matta rice is sold in Kerala - long grain matta and short grain matta. Long grain matta is procured from private mill owners and sold at `48-50/kg, while short grain matta is priced between `35 and `39/kg. The Jaya variety, which is another favourite of Keralites, is priced at `45-47/kg, while Kuruva is sold for `32-36/kg. Usually, private rice mills in the state procure paddy from other states, including Karnataka, at `28/kg. When milling charge and retail margin are added, the rice costs `20 more in the retail market. “Cooperative societies and the Consumerfed have not finalised the selling price of rice. We plan to procure processed rice and sell it through the Consumerfed outlets and cooperative societies without profit margin,” he said.