No GST On Flour With 70% Millets To Enhance Public Access
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The 52nd Indian Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and held at Sushma Swaraj Bhawan, New Delhi, has announced that the GST for millet flour food preparations have been majorly cut down from previous rates in order to improve public access to these nutritious foods. In tandem with 2023 being the International Year of Millets, the Indian government has decided to give extra concessions to millet products so that their consumption in the country grows. 

The fitment committee of the GST Council had previously suggested that tax exemptions be given to millet flours only, but the GST Council has announced that the GST on millet flours that contain at least 70% millets by weight will be nil. This exemption will be applicable to millet flour sold in loose form, while the GST applied to pre-packaged and labelled millet flours will be 5%. The previous GST on pre-packaged millet flours was 18%.  

Video Credit: YouTube/Hebbars Kitchen

Millet flour as well as whole millets are known for their nutritional value and health benefits, which is why its availability and popularity are both growing exponentially among consumers in India and across the world. The Central government hopes that by reducing the GST on millet flours, the Indian public may be more inclined to consume foods prepared with these nutrient-dense, plant-based millets. Along with this, the government is also taking steps to promoted the production of millets in India. 

In an earlier announcement, Union Agriculture Minister Tomar had revealed that millets require very little water to grow, and when grown using traditional methods, require minimal to no pesticides or fertilisers. This is the reason why millets are being promoted as climate-resilient crops in India and around the world. In the recent G20 Summit held in India, millets were highlighted as the best crops to ensure food security by all member nations. 

But the slashing of GST for millet flours was not the only food-related decision made at the GST Council meeting. The GST on molasses was also reduced from a whopping 28% to 5% as a measure that could provide relief to cane farmers. The GST Council meeting was attended by the Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary, besides Finance Ministers of States and UTs (with Legislature) and Senior officials from Union Government and States.