By imposing 5% VAT on raw spices, state government has worried spice traders, who will hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss their strategy to protest against VAT on raw spices. They claimed that the government's decision will push prices further up.
The traders claimed that 5% VAT on spices will add more worries for the people, who are already complaining of price rise. Many food items including vegetables are already being sold at higher prices and now the spices would also become dearer.
The government has imposed VAT on spices including chili, turmeric, coriander, ajwain (trachyspermum ammi), methi (fenugreek seed) and heeng (asafetida). "The cost of all the raw spices will increase," said Babu Lal Gupta, president, Rajasthan Khadya Padarth Vyapar Sangh.
He added that VAT will not only increase the prices but it will also make a bad impact on spice business in the state. "In our neighbouring state Gujarat, there is no tax on grocery. Moreover, it will also adversely impact the sale of spices, which are produced in Rajasthan, in other states like Rajasthan's chili and coriander are being sold in other states. But, VAT will affect the entire business now," said Gupta.
He pointed out that over the past few years, the number of farmers shifting to spice cultivation has increased but now with the increase in VAT, it will affect the production directly. He claimed that VAT would also decrease employment opportunities and it may leave many people in spice business jobless.
Now, Rajasthan Khadya Vyapar Sangh (RKVS) officials from the entire state would gather in Jaipur on Thursday. They would discuss how they would demand to roll back the decision of imposing VAT on raw spices.