Home » Lokesh to CM: Talk to Centre on GST hike

Lokesh to CM: Talk to Centre on GST hike

Unbearable burden on weavers, artisans
AP Govt should subsidize handicrafts, textiles
‘Nethanna Nestham’ not able to resolve problems
Textiles biggest employers in unorganized sector

AMARAVATI: TDP National General Secretary Nara Lokesh on Monday urged Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to take up the GST hike issue with the Centre as it had come as a death sentence for the handicrafts and textiles.

In a letter to the CM here, Lokesh said the increased GST rate became an unbearable burden on the weaving and artisan communities. Unless the AP Government would provide subsidy, these sections would get further stuck in a deepened financial crisis.

Expressing concern, Lokesh said: “The GST rate on textile and handloom products has been set to be increased from 5% to 12% from 1st January 2022. Most of the textile making units, especially in the handloom sector, are small. Their profit margins are low, between 2-5 per cent on average. A higher tax burden will throw their lives into disarray. Production and marketing costs for such labour-intensive products will become loss-making.”

Nara Lokesh told the CM that there have already been demands from other states, especially Telangana and Tamil Nadu, to waive this tax altogether or keep it unchanged at 5%. I request the AP government to urgently consider and implement the required measures to help our weavers and textile-makers get back on their feet.

As such, Lokesh urged the Chief Minister to demand the Union Government for an urgent withdrawal of the tax hike. Otherwise, the state government must subsidize to bring the tax to 5%. The APCO should buy products from MSME textile units. The AP ‘Nethanna Nestham’ would be of no use if higher tax ate into their already low margins. There was a need to reinstate input subsidies to decrease cost of production.

Lokesh stressed the need for bringing back the thrift fund scheme, production-linked incentives and subsidized loans that were popular during the previous government. The AP contribution to the textile heritage of India has been huge and significant. The State artisans brought unique khadi and handloom traditions besides taking active part in the freedom struggle of the country.

Nara lokesh recalled that Gandhiji was greatly impressed by the delicate warp and weft of Ponduru khadi when he visited Uttarandhra. Equally important were the colourful and exuberant sarees of Peddada and Uppada, the wonderful cotton sarees of Mangalagiri, the Kalamkari sarees of Pedana and Srikalahasti, the warp and weft of Dharmavaram textiles, or those of Chirala and Venkatagiri.

Lokesh said these were but a few of the many villages and towns across Andhra with a great heritage of khadi and handloom crafts. As such, the Government must ensure security to the livelihoods of our craftsmen and women.

The TDP MLC said that in the past year, he had personally met with dozens of weavers from across Andhra Pradesh. Their constant complaint was how the present regime has drastically cut subsidies, welfare benefits, loan support, thrift fund interest rates, and buying of their products through APCO. This indicates a widespread lack of state support to our artisans.

Lokesh further said the weavers bore the brunt of economic recession due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They faced a dire situation due to lack of demand and disruption of supply chains. Products worth crores of rupees have remained unsold. Their families have had to live on loans for basic necessities. Urgent actions were required from the government to save our textiles industry, which is one of the biggest employers in the unorganized sector.

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