Roti vs Parotta GST War: All you need to know
Photo by Whisk Affair

If you're been following the news over the last day or so, you might have noticed a strange discussion cooking among social media users. Two Indian flatbreads have been pitted against each other after the Authority of Advance Ruling decreed that while rotis would attract a GST of 5%, parotta's were a somewhat more luxurious item and thus ready-to-eat frozen parottas would attract 18% GST.

Who decided this and how did the issue come up?

The decision was taken by the Karnataka bench of the Authority of Advance Ruling after Bengaluru-based ID Fresh Foods had approached them seeking clarification on whether preparation of whole wheat parotta and Malabar parota can be classified under Chapter 1905 attracting 5 per cent GST.

According to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs' website, the AAR deals with "Customs related applications and pending cases of Central Excise and Service tax".

What was the decision?

As per the AAR ruling, parottas are neither rotis not khakras. Thus, they cannot be taxed at 5% GST.

According to a series of Twitter posts put out by the CBIC, "The authority has decided that frozen (and preserved) wheat parota and malabar parota available in ambient and frozen form with a shelf life of 3-7 days is not plain roti but is a distinct product".

Thus, it was excluded from concessional GST rate of 5%.

What has been the response to the news?

In the hours that have followed the news, netizens have taken up the roti-parotta war in earnest. While many appeared to overlook the fact that this 18% tax rate was eyeing only frozen, packaged, ready-to-eat parottas, others wondered why this was a hot topic in the first place.

As one Twitter user put it, "Meanwhile, in India, the next burning question for the tax authorities will be if plain paranthas served cold are rotis or parotas..."

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