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A Plea from The Federation Of Handloom Organisations

Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi, Shri ArunJaitley;

The promulgation of the GST Act is a direct threat to artisans engaged in non-machine production.The absence of the word “hand” in the list of goods and services is indicative of the dismissal of any recognition of handmade in GST. In the Textile sector, after GST the distinction between handwoven and machine woven is removed.

India is home to 44 lakh handloom weavers and 68 lakh handicraft artisans. Together they make over a crore population working without the aid of mechanical energy producing unique products with a good demand both in the domestic and export market.

There is a 5-10% increase in prices in handlooms after GST.

Tax on handlooms will discourage even existing customers and further reduce the demand for these products, already facing competition from powerloom imitations.

The small scale pre-loom service providers like sizers and dyers also come under GST. They are already a dwindling number and the demand for tax may hasten the departure of the existing units.This will directly impact hand weaving activity.

The compliance for GST demands the pre-existence of IT infrastructure, digital literacy, and access to experts like chartered accountants for uploading GST forms every month. All these call for resources both human and financial which will be impossible for the small producer. They are also an additional financial burden.

First time since independence everything handmade is coming under tax and is in contrast to the claims of the State about encouraging ‘swadesi’ and promoting ‘swavalamban’. Citizens of the country need to unite to support the demand for “NO GST on HANDMADE” to protect rural livelihoods and stop migration.

GST can only benefit large manufactures with a vertically integrated value chain which probably can make big cars cheaper but make a handloom saree expensive.

It is imperative to exempt products made by handloom and handicraft artisans from GST in order to protect rural livelihoods.


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