The new GST rate on paper cartons, boxes and bags are against Government’s efforts on single-use plastic reduction
Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) and other affected by the recent Government decision reviving GST rates have expressed their concern over the hardships that may ensue due to the increased financial burden. The GST Council, in its 45th meeting held on 17th September 2021, has recommended an increase in the GST rate on cartons, boxes, bags, packing containers of paper etc. from 12% to 18%. It is feared that the new GST rates on these products and media will make it expensive for consumers to shift away from single-use plastic.
Earlier the Indian government, amending the plastic waste management rules, had decided to ban the manufacture, sale and use of single-use plastic. The extra burden on paper based packaging industry will go against the government’s commitment to become a single-use plastic free country. According to IPMA, this recommendation of the GST Council is surprising and not in sync with the move of the Government towards ban on the use of single-use plastic. Recognising the global menace of single-use plastic which is not biodegradable, India had earlier given an international commitment to ban all single-use plastic by 2022. The new Plastic Waste Management Rules aim to prohibit the manufacture, sale and use of several single-use plastic commodities from 1st July 2022. The rules also prohibit the use of plastic carry bags with thickness less than 75 microns with effect from 30th September 2021 and 120 microns with effect from 31st December 2022.
IPMA President, Mr. A S Mehta states “Paper is one of the most environmentally sustainable products as it is fully biodegradable, recyclable and is produced from sources which are renewable and sustainable. Paper provides a viable alternative to single-use plastic in several applications. An increase in the GST rate on paper cartons, boxes and bags will work against the Government’s efforts towards phasing out the use of single-use plastic.”