Tea traders here on Saturday appealed to the Centre to exempt tea from levy of the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) and remove it from the list of taxable items under the GST Act.
If total exemption was not possible, at least tea should be exempted from GST at first point sale made in the public tea auction centres, licensed by the Tea Board of India, Tea Traders Association of Coimbatore Chairman UV Saraf said.
For subsequent sales, the rate should be fixed not exceeding five per cent, he said in his address to the 34th Annual General Meeting of the association.
He said though the association members welcomed the introduction of GST scheduled from April next, they had certain apprehension as tea will fall under the category of 18 per cent Revenue Neutral Rate.
Presently, VAT is charged at five per cent for estate teas and a concessional one per cent for Bought Leaf Factory teas in Tamil Nadu, he said, and appealed to the law makers to take up the matter with the State and Central governments to get total exemption from GST for auction sales throughout the country or a minimum rate since tea was an agricultural produce of mass consumption.
On pan-India e-auction system implemented from June last, Saraf said the association wanted participation of more buyers in the platform, which can create competition for quality tea and ensure fair price realisation for the manufacturers.