Leather In­dus­try Asks for More from GST Coun­cil

Shoes & Accessories - - The Month That Was | Updates I India -

100 days af­ter im­ple­men­ta­tion of Goods and Ser­vices Tax, the GST Coun­cil held its 22nd meet­ing in Oc­to­ber, and came out with some en­cour­ag­ing changes. Tax re­funds of GST for July will start from Oc­to­ber 10, and for Au­gust from Oc­to­ber 18. Se­cond, ex­porters are now re­quired to pay a nom­i­nal GST of 0.1 per­cent on the goods meant for ex­ports. Third, extension of the Ad­vance Autho­riza­tion (AA)/ Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Cap­i­tal Goods (EPCG)/100 per­cent EOU schemes. It is be­lieved that th­ese mea­sures should help pre­vent work­ing cap­i­tal of ex­porters from get­ting locked up. Ad­di­tion­ally, it is ex­pected that the in­tro­duc­tion of the pro­posed e-wal­let fa­cil­ity would pro­vide a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to this prob­lem.

Though the coun­cil gave re­lief to the jew­ellery in­dus­try as well as to sev­eral small-scale in­dus­tries, the footwear in­dus­try has been kept off this list de­spite its strong rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Fi­nance Min­istry. Un­der­scor­ing this, Agra Footwear Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Ex­porters Cham­ber Pres­i­dent Pu­ran Dawar told S&A,“THE footwear in­dus­try in Agra em­ploys over 3.5 lakh peo­ple of the city, but the GST coun­cil ig­nored the in­dus­try’s valid de­mands. Smallscale man­u­fac­tur­ers of footwear have been dis­heart­ened as they were hop­ing that this time the GST coun­cil will def­i­nitely hear their pleas.”

He added, “GST refund pro­vi­sions do give some re­lief but it is very dis­ap­point­ing that leather has still been kept in the 12 per cent slab in­stead of bring­ing it down to 5 per­cent. Leather goods have also been kept in 28 per cent slab, which should have been kept at 12 per cent as de­manded by the in­dus­try. There has been no re­duc­tion on footwear, wherein the in­dus­try has been de­mand­ing for 5% GST rate. The leather in­dus­try has been earn­ing a con­sid­er­able amount of for­eign ex­change, and if pro­moted well, the footwear in­dus­try alone could gen­er­ate mil­lions of new jobs.”

He stressed,”we are ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed. The ap­parel and tex­tile in­dus­try has been get­ting all the ben­e­fits while the footwear sec­tor is be­ing ig­nored. Footwear is a part of any at­tire too. I won­der why the coun­cil is plac­ing footwear and small leather ac­ces­sories un­der lux­ury cat­e­gory. It’s a known fact that In­dia has the largest live­stock, and the 90% In­dus­try falls un­der SME cat­e­gory, which needs hand­hold­ing. So ap­par­ently we do not see any rea­son why the leather in­dus­try should be treated dif­fer­ently. We strongly urge that the leather in­dus­try be taken un­der the Tex­tile Min­istry.”

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