GST Sounding Death Knell For Many Sectors

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Srinagar—Four months have passed since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in the state, several vital sectors are facing heavy losses by it.

Jammu and Kashmir joined the Goods and Services Tax regime in first week of July after the Assembly passed a bill on State-GST.

During the last four months, the sale of vital sectors especially the handicrafts sector is on the decline by the GST. One such sector is the carpet industry.

The traders say that this tax law took a huge toll on the indigenous handicrafts sector, particularly carpet industry, which compelled the state government to take up with the centre the issue of reducing the tax up to five per cent.

While there has not been any headway from the GST council, the carpet dealers and exporters claim that the export of carpet has come down by 17 per cent in Kashmir.

“The government has assured that it has taken the issue with the GST council to reduce the tax up to five per cent, but we are waiting for any announcement,” a businessman dealing with exporting carpets, said.

He said the dealers across the valley preferred to store carpets in their units.

“We won’t get the desired profit if the carpets are exported under current circumstances,” he said. “Recently an exhibition was held in Varanasi and only some three dealers participated in it. Earlier some thirty would participate in this exhibition, which usually attracts foreign buyers. Moreover some 17 dealers have permanently given up the carpet trade,” he added.

“We have some 1,000 retail outlets across the country, and all are running in losses. We already have to pay a couple of taxes in addition to the GST,” another businessman said.

He said that the industry has witnessed 70-80 per cent decline in the manufacturing of carpet in the valley.

People associated with the handicrafts sector said they face heavy losses by implementation of the GST. “Nobody is concerned about us,” Ghulam Mohammad said.

Traders’ amalgam Jammu and Kashmir Coordination Committee (JKCC) has accused the state government of extending Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the state in a “deceitful manner”.

The Kashmir’s leather industry is also on a decline.

This year, the industry, trading in animal hides, touched the lowest, with hides selling for Rs 15 a piece.

Muhammad Ashraf a trader claims that heaps of raw animal skin was lying unsold at his store, which nobody from outside based dealers was readying to trade.

“The skin, which we would cost Rs 400 in 2014, is sold now just for Rs 40. We are going through immense stress as government is doing nothing to protect this industry,” he said.

He said that the leather from countries like New Zealand had made inroads in the Indian markets, which is giving a run chase for indigenous leather industry of Kashmir.

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