Kolkata: Agri-warehousing companies have sought a waiver of 18 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposed on their services days ahead of the Union Budget for this year. The expected waiver would provide a fillip to the farming community, they say.Also Read - 7th Pay Commission Latest News: Karnataka Govt Employees to Get 4.75% DA Hike Ahead of Diwali

Speaking in favour of the waiver, Transportation Director of Japanese warehousing major Kawasaki Rikuso Paran Dass said, “The Centre should relook at the GST on agri-warehousing services. It is raising the cost of farmers. I think the government should waive the GST in this sector.”Dass added that the waiver of the 18 per cent GST will motivate farmers to store their produce and prevent distress sale. Besides, Kawasaki-Rikuso Transportation Co., Ltd. (KRT) has set up a solar agri-warehouse in West Bengal, which is currently being used by the state’s Agriculture Department. Also Read - Direct Tax Target Realistic, Achievable: Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey

Meanwhile, Sandeep Sabharwal, the CEO of global post-harvest agri-logistics group Sohan Lal Commodity Management Group said that the GST waiver is a long-standing demand of the agri-warehousing industry. A report quoted Sabharwal as saying, “The leases of these warehouses are treated as commercial ones and has an 18 per cent GST implication. On the contrary, output services are devoid of any GST and eventually, the customers’ cost increases.” This often leads to loss of business for the organised sector, as consumers prefer unorganised players who often do not pay GST, he added. Also Read - 50 Days of Modi 2.0: NDA's Second Term Indicates Huge Transformation For Next 5 Years

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will unveil the full budget for fiscal 2019-20 on July 5. Her budget team comprises Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur and Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian. The official team is led by Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, Expenditure Secretary Girish Chandra Murmu, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, DIPAM Secretary Atanu Chakraborty, and Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar.

In her budget, the 59-year-old JNU alumna will have to address slowing economy, financial sector troubles like rising NPAs and liquidity crisis in NBFCs, job creation, private investments, exports revival, agrarian crisis and raise public investment without compromising on fiscal prudence.

(With inputs from PTI)