Food Min pitches for 5% GST on de-oiled rice bran

The Union Food Ministry has suggested imposing a 5 per cent GST on de-oiled rice bran to discourage use of the product for feed purpose, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Wednesday.

”We have written to the Finance Ministry to impose 5 per cent GST on de-oiled rice bran,” Pandey said at a press conference here.

At present, about 5 per cent GST (Goods and Services Tax) is applicable on rice bran (before oil extraction) and crude rice bran oil.

Imposition of a levy on de-oiled rice bran will discourage the sale of rice bran directly to feed manufacturers and the product will be available for oil extraction, Pandey said.

The issue will be decided in the GST Council, he added.

Amid increased dependence on edible oil imports, the country needs to increase the domestic production of rice bran oil as now only 60 per cent of the capacity is being utilised.

On rising retail edible oil prices, the secretary said the government has taken it seriously and an oil palm mission has been launched to boost local production.

”We cannot solve the edible oil problem overnight because it is a reality that supplies from some areas have been affected,” he said.

The entire market has been affected after Indonesia recently banned palm oil exports. But there won’t be impact on supplies to India as the country has 40-45 days’ of stock, he said.

Further, Indonesia has to export at some point as the country has a capacity of 460 lakh tonnes of palm oils against its domestic requirement of 200 lakh tonnes, Pandey said.

India meets about 60 per cent of its domestic demand of edible oil through imports. The rise in global prices has pushed up retail prices, causing food inflation.