Trade Event | Meet at Agra

At the 11th edi­tion of Meet at Agra’17, scores of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the footwear man­u­fac­tur­ing and com­po­nents in­dus­try gath­ered in the city of Agra for a three-day ex­hi­bi­tion and con­fer­ence.

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents -

Meet At Agra Turns 11

Agra Footwear Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Ex­porters Cham­ber (AFMEC) held a three-day ex­hi­bi­tion which has re­sulted in the most im­por­tant com­bi­na­tion of ma­te­rial dis­play held in In­dia for the leather sec­tor. The fair was at­tended by 160 com­pa­nies from In­dia, France, Ger­many, Italy, Por­tu­gal, Turkey, Tai­wan and China. This year, 240 stalls were set up at the fair.

The fair was inau­gu­rated by Min­is­ter of State for Fi­nance Shiv Pratap Shukla and the spe­cial guest at the func­tion was chair­man of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion of Sched­uled Caste Ram Shankar Kathe­ria. Ac­cord­ing to AFMEC, the event is not just for prod­uct ex­hi­bi­tion, but is also a plat­form to strengthen sup­ply chain, build new busi­ness re­la­tions, ca­pac­ity build­ing and tech­nol­ogy ex­change. It also be­lieves that the expo will also help en­rich the knowl­edge base of en­trepreneurs and learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents train­ing at footwear in­sti­tutes. Sev­eral com­pa­nies from across the globe pre­sented at this year’s fair new prod­ucts, ap­pli­ca­tions and in­no­va­tions es­pe­cially for the footwear sec­tor that has gen­er­ated most de­mand for leather in the past few years.

Among these ex­hibitors, Bio­cen­tro, Alert Soles and CS Leathers un­veiled their in­no­va­tive prod­ucts that are likely to open up many mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties.

De­spite a very slight drop in vis­i­tors from other re­gions, the to­tal num­ber was in par with last year as more man­u­fac­tur­ers from Agra re­gion and vis­i­tors from Delhi thronged the show. The num­ber of buy­ers trav­el­ling to Agra to source ma­te­ri­als and meet new sup­pli­ers high­lights the im­por­tance of Meet at Agra as a busi­ness plat­form for the sur­round­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing re­gions.

Cru­cially ma­jor com­pa­nies and key buy­ers were all present at­tend­ing this an­nual event well-placed to serve both ex­ports and do­mes­tic mar­kets. To grab a slice of the lu­cra­tive Agra

pie is no doubt a key goal for ex­hibitors at Meet at Agra, and the surge of qual­ity buy­ers at this edi­tion as well as ex­hibitors’ pleas­ing re­sults once again proves the po­ten­tial of this mar­ket.

Pu­ran Dawar, pres­i­dent of AFMEC, said, “Leather is not a lux­ury item, it’s a ba­sic ne­ces­sity. Small-scale man­u­fac­tur­ers of footwear have been dis­heart­ened as the in­dus­try has been hit badly.” Claim­ing that the re­cently-in­tro­duced GST rates have ad­versely af­fected Agra’s shoe­mak­ing in­dus­try, which re­mains the liveli­hood of 3.5 lakh fam­i­lies, man­u­fac­tur­ers have de­manded ex­emp­tion from GST and also re­duc­tion of taxes on raw ma­te­rial from the ex­ist­ing slabs of 12%, 18% and 28% to a flat rate of 5%.” Pu­ran Dawar also ex­pressed con­cern over GST re­fund is­sue. “The gov­ern­ment had also an­nounced that it would be pro­vid­ing re­funds within 7 days, but it has been four months and no mech­a­nism has been set up for this so far.”

While the con­cept of GST was to base on the rev­enue neu­tral rate that was clos­est to that the gov­ern­ment is not look­ing at mak­ing ad­di­tional rev­enue from any par­tic­u­lar sec­tor but we are con­cerned when we are talk­ing about 18%, the premise which the gov­ern­ment has men­tioned and even the fi­nance min­is­ter is that they have cal­cu­lated the weighted av­er­age rate.

Prior to in­tro­duc­tion of GST, man­u­fac­tur­ers with a turnover of less than ` 1.50 crore did not have to pay ex­cise duty. Even footwear cost­ing up to ` 499 a pair was ex­empted from VAT and ex­cise in Agra. Now 5% GST has been im­posed on footwear up to ` 500. AFMEC and Coun­cil for Footwear Leather & Ac­ces­sories (CFLA ) are de­mand­ing 5% GST for footwear.

Ad­dress­ing the con­fer­ence, Guest of Honour Adesh Gupta, Chair­man Coun­cil for Footwear Leather & Ac­ces­sories said, “Footwear man­u­fac­tur­ing is a sun­rise sec­tor and com­ple­ments the Make in In­dia pro­gram. The Modi gov­ern­ment has de­cided that this will be the top pri­or­ity sec­tor be­cause we are the sec­ond largest man­u­fac­tur­ing in the world and our con­sump­tion within In­dia is al­most 95% of the shoes pro­duced. How­ever, the in­dus­try is to­tally dis­ap­pointed to be placed in a high tax slab. While the con­cept of GST was to base on the rev­enue neu­tral rate that was clos­est to that the gov­ern­ment is not look­ing at mak­ing ad­di­tional rev­enue from any par­tic­u­lar sec­tor but we are con­cerned when we are talk­ing about 18%, the premise which the gov­ern­ment has men­tioned and even the fi­nance min­is­ter is that they have cal­cu­lated the weighted av­er­age rate.”

Pu­ran added, “We com­pletely sup­port the in­tent of the gov­ern­ment and believe that the var­i­ous poli­cies in­tro­duced would cre­ate a stronger fu­ture for the In­dian trade. But presently the high GST rate struc­ture, slash­ing of duty draw­back and block­age of credit is tak­ing its toll on the sec­tor. Many man­u­fac­tur­ers in the do­mes­tic mar­ket are strug­gling due to high tax slab. We urge the gov­ern­ment to re­view and re­visit the work­ing to make trade vi­able in this sec­tor. Agra in­dus­try, which caters to 65% of footwear de­mand in In­dia and has a 25% share in ex­ports, has seen a 60% drop in busi­ness as a re­sult of all these de­ci­sions.”

Min­is­ter of State for Fi­nance Shiv Pratap Shukla at the In­au­gu­ra­tion of Meet at Agra with Pu­ran Dawar

Pu­ran Dawar, Pres­i­dent, AFMEC We com­pletely sup­port the in­tent of the gov­ern­ment and believe that the var­i­ous poli­cies in­tro­duced would cre­ate a stronger fu­ture for the In­dian trade. But presently the high GST rate struc­ture, slash­ing of duty draw­back and block­age of credit is tak­ing its toll on the sec­tor. Many man­u­fac­tur­ers in the do­mes­tic mar­ket are strug­gling due to high tax slab.

Ishaan Sachdeva, Virola Shoes, re­ceiv­ing award

Adesh Gupta, chair­man, Coun­cil for Footwear, Leather & Ac­ces­sories (CFLA)

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