CHENNAI: Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) has expressed concern over increase in GST rates on paper bags, cartons, boxes and other packaging material which according to the association will make it expensive for consumers to shift away from single-use plastic. The GST council, in its 45th meeting held on September 17, 2021, has recommended an increase in the GST rate on cartons, boxes, bags, packing containers of paper etc. from 12% to 18%. 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. Last month, towards this endeavour, the government amended the Plastic Waste Management Rules prohibiting the manufacture, sale and use of several single-use plastic commodities from July 1, 2022; and also prohibited the use of plastic carry bags with thickness less than 75 microns with effect from September 30, 2021 and 120 microns with effect from December 31, 2022.
IPMA president, AS Mehta stated that 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, he added.