Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep handloom and handicraft products from the purview of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the larger interest of the weavers and artisans of the state.
“State Finance Minister had strongly argued in the GST Council that handloom and handicrafts should be kept in the exemption list, it was not agreed to. This is likely to lead to increase in prices of these products, which will adversely affect the livelihood of the poor families depending upon the production of these goods. I would, therefore, urge that the issue needs urgent reconsideration in the GST Council for extending GST exemption on these products in the interest of the weavers and artisans,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As a large number of weaver and artisan families earn their livelihood from this production, Odisha had exempted handloom and handicraft products from Value Added Tax (VAT) prior to introduction of GST. Besides, no excise duty was also levied on most of these products.
Notably, over 3.5 lakh people in the state are dependent on handloom and handicrafts to eke out their living.
Worth mentioning, with the introduction of GST with effect from July 1, 2017, handloom fabric and handloom apparels have been made taxable under GST rates of 5% and 12% respectively and handicrafts have been levied a GST rate of 12% or 18% depending upon the type of handicraft.
Earlier in the day, a delegation of Odisha Shilpi Mahasangha met Patnaik at state secretariat and submitted a memorandum containing signatures of nearly 50, 000 artisans and weavers for GST exemption.