Now, KTR starts online petition seeking removal of 5% GST on handlooms
KT Rama Rao started an online petition on Sunday urging the Union government to remove Goods and Services Tax (GST) on handloom products in order to safeguard the lives of weavers.
Published: 24th October 2022 08:04 AM | Last Updated: 24th October 2022 08:04 AM | A+A A-
HYDERABAD: A day after launching a postcard campaign, Handlooms and Textiles Minister KT Rama Rao started an online petition on Sunday urging the Union government to remove Goods and Services Tax (GST) on handloom products in order to safeguard the lives of weavers and protect India’s cultural heritage.
In the petition, Rama Rao said that India is home to almost five million handloom workers, who produce unique products without the aid of mechanical energy. He also pointed out that the sector, which is highly decentralised and rural-based, comprises mostly women in its workforce.
Earlier on Saturday, he wrote a postcard addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to roll back five per cent GST on handloom products. However, on Sunday, he took to Change.org, a US-based nonprofit petition website, to begin the petition, which can be accessed at https://chng.it/sFyKKqQZmd.
‘Death knell for the sector’
Taking to Twitter, the Textiles Minister requested people to sign the petition and share it with their friends and family. “GST on handlooms is a direct threat to the millions of people who earn their livelihoods in the handloom sector. Weavers across the country unanimously oppose taxes on handloom since it had resulted in huge losses, forcing many to turn away from the traditional craft,” he said.
The Minister said the handloom sector is one of the largest unorganised sectors and forms an integral part of rural and semi-rural livelihood. “The handloom sector in India is reeling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and any move to increase the tax rate will sound the death knell for the industry,” he added.
Rama Rao said that handloom weaving represents one of the richest and most vibrant aspects of the Indian cultural heritage. He claimed that the BJP-led Union government was the first government to levy tax on handloom products since Independence.
Joining in the Minister’s campaign demanding rollback of GST on handloom products, MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha has written a postcard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Sunday, she took to Twitter to announce, “Our handloom industry is a living testimony of our rich heritage and culture, celebrating our diversity. Instead of promoting them, levying the GST is against the growth of the nation. I join the nobel initiative of @KTRTRS Anna to support our handloom industry #RollbackHandloomGST (sic).”
Kavitha said it was not a good move to impose five per cent GST on handloom products and criticised the Centre for mulling 12 per cent GST on it. GST on handloom products would be a death knell to the traditional weavers, she lamented. She pointed out that handloom weavers had no business outlook and were dependent on the traditional profession for their livelihood.