THE STATE Goods and Services Tax (GST) department has extended advanced support to weavers and powerloom owners of Bhiwandi at a time the textile industry there has been hit hard by the new tax system.
Senior officials from the GST department, including joint GST commissioners, are engaging in discussions with weavers to understand the difficulties under the new tax regime.
State GST commissioner Rajeev Jalota said a team of senior officers has been deployed to help stakeholders’ transition into the GST system. “We are trying everything we can to help the textile industry in Bhiwandi and Malegaon. We are aware that there are concerns over the GST. We are trying to understand those so that we can help the loom owners better,” said Jalota.
Loom owners said they have put their concerns forward for the GST department.
“A 15 per cent GST on yarn cost and 5 per cent on several jobs in the process will increase our manufacturing costs and make it difficult for us to do business. We have asked for the 15 per cent be reduced to 10-12 per cent and the 5 per cent GST be removed,” said Rashid Tahir Momin, a loom owner and a former MLA.
Even as no commitments were made, parties — the GST department, loom owners and weavers — discussed the possibility of a credit refund on the tax paid by weavers and loom owners.
Powerloom owners and weavers in Bhiwandi, one of India’s largest textile hubs, have launched a five-day agitation against the impact of GST. All units will remain shut till July 15. The protest has resulted in low turnout of weavers and loom owners at the GST registration desks.
“Since Tuesday, hardly anyone from the textile industry has come for registration. This could be an outcome of the agitation,” said Jalota, adding that the state GST department can only provide handholding support. “We cannot negotiate with the weavers. The GST is the law that has to be followed. Only the GST council is authorised to negotiate,” he added.
According to weavers, six to seven lakh powerlooms — almost 80 per cent of the total — have shut down over the past 25 days in Bhiwandi. The shutdown is because of protests by textile merchants in Gujarat and the GST rollout.
With the Gujarat merchants on strike, there is no one to buy fabric and hence, loom owners have been forced to halt operations.
“We welcome the GST as it eliminates middlemen but the 15 per cent tax on yarn costs and 5 per cent on the jobs will set us back in the global market. More than the agitation, circumstances have led to a shutdown of the looms here,” said Fayyaz Ahmed, who owns FT Textiles.