UP Polls: Agra shoe business down by 70 per cent but traders to vote for nationalism pitch

GD Ramani, President of Agra Shoe Factories Association, said the association of 5000 traders in the city feel that GST increase on shoes from 5 to 12 per cent has broken the backbone of the industry.
People at a polling station to cast their votes during the voting for the first phase of Uttar Pradesh elections at Muradnagar, Uttar Pradesh,Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (Photo | PTI)
People at a polling station to cast their votes during the voting for the first phase of Uttar Pradesh elections at Muradnagar, Uttar Pradesh,Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (Photo | PTI)

AGRA: Badly hit by demonetisation, a 12 per cent high GST on shoes, business down by 70 per cent due to Covid-19, Agra shoes traders association, that has 4 lakh people associated with it, initially decided to boycott election over their unaddressed grievances but then it was decided otherwise in favour of the country.

GD Ramani, President of Agra Shoe Factories Association, said the association of 5000 traders in the city feel that GST increase on shoes from 5 to 12 per cent has broken the backbone of the industry.

The leather business has already taken a toll after the closure of several tanneries in Kanpur and it has moved to Bangladesh, say several shoe traders in Hing Ki Mandi area of Agra, which is the wholesale shoe market in the city.

Agra now deals in synthetic leather and the majority of party PVC soles, foam, comes from China and is assembled here before being supplied across the country.

"We deal in cash and demonetisation badly hit us. Then came GST and since Jan 2022, shoes below Rs 1000 has been brought under 12 per cent tax bracket from 5 per cent. Our profit is 3-4 per cent and tax has been increasing 2 times. This is like killing the entire industry. We are not big leather traders and the majority come under small scale industries," said Ramani, mentioning he has met several ministers in the Centre and state government but of no use.

The Association wrote to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that this could make them rethink their support to the BJP. Traders have been core BJP supporters.

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"BJP government has done good work in the state but turned out to be bad for the shoe industry in Agra. Our business has been badly hit under the BJP rule but when you vote, you to keep country in mind and not personal issues," says Ashok Jamnani, another wholesale shoe trader, as he settles down checking order slips for the day.

The traders are hopeful that there is a GST meeting scheduled end of this month and have assured some relief.

"The issue is that the proposal was to impose 12 per cent tax on both garments and shoes under Rs 1000. But after the intervention of the Gujarat finance minister, garments remain in the bracket of 5 per cent. Garment and shoes both come under essential. Anyways branded shoes are taxed at 18 per cent," says Jamnani.

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