NASHIK: To protest against the Central Government’s decision to impose five percent Goods and Service Tax (GST) on unbranded pre-packaged food items such as milk, curd, dried leguminous vegetables, poha, and others, 15,000 grocery (wholesale and retail Kirana) stores in Nashik city remained shut yesterday. With the introduction of this decision, the burden will shift on the general public. Already the country is witnessing inflation, and the price rise has made the lives of citizens difficult.
Rising prices of essential commodities like domestic gas cylinders and now edible items will disrupt the kitchen budget of many households. The shopkeepers will collect the tax from the general public, thus making the general public suffer the most.
Various trade organisations, including the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (MACCIA), have demanded the cancellation of the latest order as this decision will severely affect their businesses. The demand mainly includes the cancellation of tax on unbranded goods. Already, citizens pay GST on branded and packaged items. With the introduction of this decision, the government is depriving citizens of quality living standards.
As Saturday is the weekly off for the industrial sector, the labourers fill the weekly grains in the markets around the city. As the grocery stores remained shut yesterday, even labourers faced backlash. Since morning, the office-bearers of the organisations visited various areas and ascertained the markets remained closed. Shopkeepers were requested to participate in the bandh. Even shopkeepers in Sharad Chandra Pawar Market were requested to participate in the protest and shut their shops. Dhanya Kirana Ghauk Vyapari Sanghatana President Prafulla Sancheti, Secretary Rakesh Bhandari, Vice President Ashok Vaishya, and others were present at the occasion.
"The government’s oppressive GST tax on unbranded goods needs to be cancelled. Grain traders across the country have called for a one-day shutdown to protest against the tax. About 15,000 to 20,000 shopkeepers of Nashik participated in this protest by keeping their shops closed." - Prafulla Sancheti, President, Nashik Dhanya Kirana Ghauk Vyapari Sanghatana (wholesale traders’ association)