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Surat, Vadodara traders protest GST hike on footwear products

The GST Council proposed to increase the duty on textile and footwear products from 5 to 12 per cent. After representations from the textile industry, the council deferred the hike last week.

By: Express News Service | Surat, Vadodara |
January 5, 2022 2:15:19 am
In Surat, footwear traders gathered at Arihant market in Udhna area and protested at the main gate wearing black ribbon on their shoulders. (Representative image)

Footwear traders in Surat and Vadodara on Tuesday shut shops and joined the bandh called by All India Footwear Association against the Centre’s decision to increase the GST duty on footwear products from 5 per cent to 12 per cent.

In Surat, footwear traders gathered at Arihant market in Udhna area and protested at the main gate wearing black ribbon on their shoulders.

The GST Council proposed to increase the duty on textile and footwear products from 5 to 12 per cent. After representations from the textile industry, the council deferred the hike last week.

The protesting footwear traders are demanding to reinstate the earlier GST duty on footwear products in a similar manner.

“Over 2,500 retail shops remained shut on Tuesday… The GST Council under the leadership of Finance Minister NIrmala Sitharaman had deferred the GST duty hike on the textile products. But even after our representations, no decision was taken on footwear products,” Surat Footwear Association secretary Nirmal Kumar said.

Nitin Patel, a wholesale trader in Surat, said, “The GST hike will affect many small traders in the city… It will directly affect the citizens also. If our demand to defer the hike is not heard, we will go on strike in the coming days. We will also talk to the Confederation of All India Traders seeking their support in the matter.”

Traders in the old city area of Vadodara shut their shops for half a day and gathered to stage a token protest against the GST rate slab. The traders said that the Covid-19 lockdown and restriction on gatherings for over a year had already affected the footwear market and the change in the GST slab will further dent their profits.

“Customers of luxury brands do not mind paying a few hundred rupees more, but for small traders, who survive by selling to common customers, budget-friendly footwear will definitely be difficult to offer with such a steep hike in taxes,” a protesting trader said.

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