Garments wholesalers rip into GST

State-level wholesale garments dealers under Jharkhand Thok Vastra Vikreta Sangh took out a torch rally on Friday evening in Upper Bazaar to start its six-day-long protest against Goods and Services Tax (GST), set for a nationwide debut from July 1, which would introduce a 5 per cent tax slab on the textile sector.

By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 10.06.17
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Secretary-cum-commissioner of commercial tax KK Khandelwal inaugurates a GST awareness session at Chamber Bhavan in Jamshedpur on Friday, a day garments wholesalers protested against the tax slab with a memo to Prime Minister Narendra Modi via the DC. (Animesh Sengupta)

State-level wholesale garments dealers under Jharkhand Thok Vastra Vikreta Sangh took out a torch rally on Friday evening in Upper Bazaar to start its six-day-long protest against Goods and Services Tax (GST), set for a nationwide debut from July 1, which would introduce a 5 per cent tax slab on the textile sector.

The Jharkhand government has already asked traders covered under GST in the state to enroll on the centralised GST portal between June 1 and 15. But the garments' trading outfit claimed the new tax would kill the garments industry.

President of Jharkhand Thok Vastra Vikreta Sangh Pravin Lohia said their business had been tax-free since Independence and should remain so.

Around 1,000 wholesale garments dealers and 40,000 retailers exist in Jharkhand with over 2 lakh families dependent on their income.

Outfit president Lohia explained their protest agenda till June 15.

On Saturday, the outfit will stage a protest outside Raj Bhavan and on June 11 outside Mahatma Gandhi statue in Morabadi. On June 12, traders will sell tea as protest to mock Modi-chaiwala. On June 13, a nukkad natak depicting side-effects of GST will be staged in Upper Bazar, followed by a rally on Morabadi grounds on June14. On June 15, all retail and wholesale garment dealers will go on a daylong strike.

Explaining why GST wasn't good for the garments industry at the moment, he said: "Once the new rule comes into force, taxes will be charged both where the garment is prepared and where it is sold. Plus, we also pay 10 per cent excise duty on yarns."

Lohia pointed out other hassles too.

"For example, I have a 400sqft shop which is too small to store my stock. So, I store my stock in a godown. Post-GST, even if I were to bring my stock from the godown, I will have to first generate an e-challan or permit online without which transporting my goods is illegal. So, anyone can intercept my vehicle coming from my godown to my shop if there's no permit, and call me a tax thief," he added.

But why is generating e-challan difficult?

Citing poor and inconsistent internet connectivity in cities, Lohia pointed out the situation was far worse in rural areas.

"We all know the scenario. This apart, one will have to employ dedicate manpower to generate challans," he said.

He added if the Centre wanted to introduce GST, it should have given them time. "You can't suddenly wake up one day and say let's have GST. That's what the Union government is doing," he said.