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New tax regime to boost sale of processed fish

Business Standard:  June 01, 2017

New Delhi: The roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is likely to encourage sale of processed fish in the domestic market, which is largely unorganised.

About 95 per cent of the domestic fish market, which is estimated to be ~1 lakh crore, is unorganised.

“Earlier there were higher levies of around 12.5 per cent on processed fish. Now it has been brought under the slab of five per cent and may open up opportunities for the processed fish market,” said Tara Patnaik, chairman of Falcon Marine Exports, the country's largest seafood exporter.

Fish falls under Chapter 3 of GST commodity tariff schedule for goods. All goods other than fish seeds, prawn/shrimp seed processed, cured or in frozen state will be taxed at the rate of five per cent when the new tax regime comes into force in July.

Some of the fresh water fish such as Rohu, Catla, Mrigal and other minor carps and marine fish like Hilsa, Pomfrets, Mackerel, Bhekti, Khainga, Prawns, Crab have high demands in the domestic market.

With the reduction of rates, the domestic market will now be organised. The prices of processed fish will now cost less, he added.

According to the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, almost half of our population are fish eaters and average annual fish consumption by the rural and urban population is 7.02 and 9.06 kg per capita, respectively, whereas ICMR recommends 11 kg per capita consumption.

There are wide variations across the country like Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha and northeastern states which have a larger percentage of the people consuming fish.

The Odisha government has signed an agreement with Falcon Marine Exports Limited to open 26 Chilika Fresh outlets in Bhubaneswar. Chilika Fresh is a pre-fabricated fish retail selling kiosk in Bhubaneswar.

India is second largest in inland fish production with 3.8 million tonnes (mt) in the world after China which produces 20.8 mt of fish.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.