Congress MLAs created a ruckus in Odisha Assembly on Monday over levying of GST on food items like puffed rice and flattened rice.
Party MLA Suresh Routray raised the issue during Question Hour, saying the imposition of GST on food items of poor people and children is unfortunate.
He requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to write to the Centre to withdraw its decision, or otherwise, the state government should bear the GST cost on the items like puffed rice and flattened rice.
In his response, Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari said: “As per levying of GST on puffed rice and flattened rice is concerned, it is the subject of GST Council and Odisha, a single state, cannot take any decision on this.”
However, he also clarified that only packaged and labelled puffed rice would attract GST, therefore it will have no impact on customers and traders in rural areas where these items are sold loosely.
Raising the issue again during Zero hour, Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati demanded Speaker B.K. Arukha to form a house panel to meet the GST Council Chairman and the Prime Minister on this issue.
As poor people will be affected with this move of the Centre, another Congress member Santosh Singh Saluja demanded immediate rollback of the decision.
Similarly, BJD member Amar Prasad Satpathy also expressed concern over the issue and demanded the state Finance Minister to make a statement clarifying whether the GST Council has taken permission from the state government before levying of GST on puffed rice and flattened rice.
The Congress members rushed into the well of the house shouting slogans against the Centre and demanded withdrawal of GST on puffed rice and flattened rice as these are food of the poor.
As the Congress members continued to create a noisy scene in the house, the Speaker first adjourned the proceedings for 10 minutes and then till 4 p.m.
The GST Council has imposed 5 per cent GST on pre-packaged and labelled food items such as curd, lassi puffed rice and flattened rice from Monday onwards.