Apparel - - News - RAHUL ME­HTA

Dear Friends,

Some ma­jor con­ces­sions and re­vi­sions have been an­nounced by the GST Coun­cil, to make life eas­ier for com­pli­ance, and to re­verse some ir­ra­tional de­ci­sions taken ear­lier. None of th­ese af­fect our In­dus­try, but I would like to con­grat­u­late the Gov­ern­ment for their bold steps. Cyn­ics might shrug th­ese changes off to the com­ing elec­tions in Gu­jarat, but I would like to give credit to the fact that the Gov­ern­ment is ac­tu­ally lis­ten­ing! CMAI has been con­sis­tently of the opin­ion that GST is good for the Econ­omy, good for the In­dus­try, and good for the com­mon man in the long run. How­ever, it would be fool­ish to deny that there were some in­ex­pli­ca­ble com­plex­i­ties built in, both in the rate struc­ture and in the pro­cesses, in the orig­i­nal ver­sion. Many of th­ese have been ad­dressed so far, and many more re­main. But, as I said, for the first time we have a Gov­ern­ment which is ac­tu­ally lis­ten­ing to the views of the In­dus­try and tak­ing cor­rec­tive ac­tion. Ku­dos to the Gov­ern­ment for this. I am happy to share that CMAI was suc­cess­ful in per­suad­ing the Gov­ern­ment to change the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of un­stitched Sal­war Kameez from Gar­ments to Fab­rics. Un­der the orig­i­nal struc­ture, Sa­rees were clas­si­fied as Fab­rics, at­tract­ing 5% GST ir­re­spec­tive of its price. On the other hand, un­stitched Sal­war Kameez were clas­si­fied as Gar­ments – hence sub­ject to 12% GST if priced over Rs.1000. Along with sev­eral other As­so­ci­a­tions, CMAI rep­re­sented to the Coun­cil to modify this ob­vi­ous dis­crim­i­na­tion, and to their credit, the Coun­cil agreed to our view. Un­stitched Sal­wars will now be at 5% GST, ir­re­spec­tive of their price. Un­for­tu­nately, for some in­ex­pli­ca­ble rea­son, Im­port Duty on Used and Worn Cloth­ing has been brought down from 12% to 5%. CMAI has con­sis­tently held that In­dia needs to con­trol the im­ports of used Cloth­ing – not only does it im­pact the Do­mes­tic In­dus­try, it is also a health hazard for the con­sumers, apart from be­ing a ve­hi­cle to bring in fresh goods on a much re­duced Duty Struc­ture. It is shock­ing that whilst im­port du­ties of most other Tex­tile items have been raised, this par­tic­u­lar item has been sin­gled out for re­duc­tion – when there was nei­ther a need nor a de­mand! The mar­kets post Di­wali have been strug­gling. Most Brands re­port­ing ei­ther a flat growth or de-growth. The plethora of Mid Sea­son Sale of­fers is a sure sign of stuck in­ven­tory and slug­gish sales. But one clear trend that is emerg­ing is the dom­i­nance of the Value For­mats. Th­ese are the for­mats which seem to be hold­ing their own in spite of the weak sen­ti­ments. I won­der if this is an in­di­ca­tor of the fu­ture! By the way, I owe an apol­ogy to my good friend Pankaj Shah of Buf­falo Jeans. When I wrote my trib­ute to Shan­ti­lal Shah, I had men­tioned that he was the man who had launched Buf­falo. In fact Buf­falo was the brain child of his brother, Pankaj. I have no doubt Shan­tib­hai would have blessed, guided, and in­spired Pankaj like he in­deed did with ev­ery­one who came in his con­tact, and Pankaj would be the first to ac­knowl­edge the re­spect the en­tire in­dus­try had for Shan­tib­hai. How­ever, credit must go to the Pankaj for be­ing one of the pi­o­neers in the In­dian Jeans In­dus­try.

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