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KT Rama Rao begins online petition demanding GST rollback on handloom

The minister pointed out that the Modi government was the first one in Independent India to impose taxes on the handloom sector.

Statesman News Service | Hyderabad |

GST rollback: After sending a postcard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Telangana textile minister KT Rama Rao has now started an online petition to appeal to the Union government to rollback 5 percent GST on hand loom products stating that it has sounded the death knell for the sector already crippled by the pandemic.

The minister pointed out that the Modi government was the first one in Independent India to impose taxes on the handloom sector. “I appeal to the Union government to remove GST on handloom products in order to safeguard the livelihoods of millions of Indian weavers and protect India’s cultural heritage,” wrote the minister in his petition. He went on to add: “As India celebrates Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav, lifting GST on hand looms is a fitting tribute to our founding fathers who used charkha as a symbol of self-reliance.”

He pointed out that weavers were already struggling due to rising prices including raw materials. The introduction of taxes will cause huge losses since the demand for their craft will be affected. The sector is already facing a threat from power looms and many will choose to give up their traditional craft and look for alternate means of livelihood. People who signed the online petition opined that a piece of India’s heritage will be lost forever if the taxes were not abolished.

The minister who himself endorses hand loom has taken up the causes of the weavers. A couple of days ago he told the weavers’ community to start a postcard protest addressing their letters to the Prime Minister and urging him to remove GST from the handloom sector. Telangana is home to various handloom sarees including Pocchampally, Narayanpet, Gadwal, Gollabhama while neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is known for Mangalgiri, Dharmavaram, Uppada, Venkatgiri and so on.Telangana is also known for the durries from Warangal.