5% GST on Rotis, 18% on Parotas. What Next? Vanilla vs Chocolate Ice Cream


5% GST on Rotis, 18% on Parotas. What Next? Vanilla vs Chocolate Ice Cream

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Like rotis? You’ll have to pay five per cent GST. Like parotas? Sorry, it’ll be 18 per cent GST now, thanks to some geniuses at the Authority for Advance Rulings. Parotas are not rotis, chapatis or khakhras, they say. “Rotis are already prepared or completely cooked products, hence they are ready-to-use for food preparations. On the other hand, partoas need to be heated before consumption,” the AAR stated in its order.

It’s as bizarre as it gets. The demand was for “roti” to be considered “‘generic”, covering different types of Indian breads and have a constant rate of tax but some officers were like “aaj kuch toofani karte hai”. So rotis are now essential food items and parotas, luxury. Maybe they can go all the way and start charging five per cent GST on vanilla ice cream and 18 per cent on chocolate ice cream, or five per cent tax on Rohit Shetty movies, and 18 per cent on Sanjay Leela Bhansali films. Who knows? Anything goes.

The order will invite rank confusion. What constitutes a roti and a parota mean different things in different parts of India. Porotas eaten in Kerala won’t be considered as rotis now because unlike rotis, which are ready to eat, porotos need to be heated before consumption. It has triggered a hashtag that we can all get behind: #HandsOffPorotta

Indian bureaucracy loves complications so much, maybe they should make the next Christopher Nolan movie. While Modi ji comes on TV and talks about ease of doing business, bureaucrats get up every morning and ask themselves “How can I make life more difficult for everyone today?” Maybe we will all need an IIT degree now to calculate the GST amount in a bill, considering the number of slabs and different kinds of rates applicable on different products, even within the same category.

If the plan is that we will revive the economy by sneakily charging more tax to people who love parotas, then God help us. Maybe when the Prime Minister said “Aatmanirbhar”, he meant cook your own food at home because tax authorities are out there to loot us.

Many saw the funny side to this absurdity and it started a meme fest on Twitter.


Parotas have finally made it in the class system of food. Started from the bottom, now we here!

This is just the beginning. Abhi gaye kya hoga?