Ranchi college students apprehensive as GST is prone to hit mess charges

RANCHI: After issued a notification imposing 5% on , students staying in such across the city are worried.
With over 20,000 hostellers across the capital city, staying in campus hostels and private off-campus facilities, the news has come in as a cause of concern.

“We already spend a lot of money on food from the mess. Adding an additional tax might sound nominal but not for students like us who actually walk to college to save a day‘s commuting fare. This could add up to a considerable amount in the total expenditure,” said Nidhi Singh, a student of Gossener College in Ranchi.

The messes in Ranchi are largely privately-owned and operated by homemakers or are run as add-on to residential hostel facilities. A monthly-meal plan consisting of three meals a day will cost anywhere between Rs 1,500 for vegetarian and Rs 6,500 for non-vegetarian corporate meal packages.

In its notification, the CBEC has clarified: “Supply of food or drink provided by a mess or canteen is taxable at 5% without Input Tax Credit for messes both run by college campuses and outsourced from somewhere else. This will not only add up to the prices across college canteens but will also reflect in mess charges for daily meals.”

However, hostellers are divided over the issue.

“I think the tax shouldn‘t be a big problem for us. Yes, it will add an extra expenditure of a few hundred rupees to the bill but many students spend a lot of money eating out in restaurants. But I think if we are paying a tax for mess food, the government must step in and ensure the quality levels of the food served to us,” added Vishal Kumar, a resident of one of the private hostels in Lalpur area.

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