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Fish meal industry continues indefinite strike for GST exemption

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Thursday, August 15, 2019, 23:30 (GMT + 9)

Fifty-six fish meal industrial units have been on a strike since August 1

The fish meal industry are up in arms over the decision of goods and services tax (GST) authorities to collect tax from fish meal and related products. They said that they had been exempted from taxes till GST implementation.

As many as 56 fish meal industrial units spread across the states of Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are on an indefinite strike since August 1, demanding GST exemption.

It is stated that fish meal and related products, used in the making of shrimp feed, were made taxable at five per cent during the initial GST notification. But these were shifted to the list of exempted items. However, the authorities brought out a new circular to collect taxes in retrospective effect from fish meal producing companies.

“If the companies are asked to pay taxes (which they have not collected) in retrospective effect, the entire industry will be seriously affected, forcing companies to run into huge debts”, Davood Sait, national secretary of All India Fish Meal and Oil Manufacturers and Merchants Association said.

All India Fish Meal and Oil Manufacturers and Merchants Association directors ►

“We have not collected any amount from anyone at any point of transaction. But many of the fish meal factories are served with show cause notices to pay huge amount as tax dues and penalties”, he added.

Fish meal is a major ingredient for aquatic feed manufacturing. Besides an excellent source of protein, the domestic production of fish meal has made revolutionary strides in the development of shrimp farming. Fish meal is processed from fish mainly fish varieties unfit for human consumption.

Photo: courtesy of Bawa Fishmeal & Oil Co.

The INR 17.5 billion (USD 245.2 million) industry provides a decent source of livelihood for thousands of jobless and illiterate people. The annual production is estimated at 250,000 tonnes.

“There was a time when India like other countries imported fish meal. The closing down of factories will have a direct impact on shrimp farming as aqua culture units largely depends on domestic fish meal,” he added.

The association also urged the central and state governments to do everything possible to retain fish meal and related products exempted from taxes as it was from the beginning.

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