A day after launching a postcard campaign, Telangana Handlooms and Textiles Minister KT Rama Rao started an online petition appealing to the Union Government to remove Goods and Services Tax (GST) on handloom products in order to safeguard lives of weavers and protect India’s cultural heritage. Minister KTR in his petition stated that India is home to almost 5 million handloom workers who produce unique products without the aid of mechanical energy. And the highly decentralized and rural-based handloom industry mostly has women in its workforce.
On Saturday, he wrote a postcard addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to roll back 5 per cent GST on handloom products. Minister KTR started the online petition on change.org on Sunday Tweeting about the petition, Minister KTR has requested everyone to sign the petition and share it with their friends and family. He has appealed to people to join hands for the noble cause.
“GST on handlooms is a direct threat to the millions of people who earn their livelihoods in the handloom sector. Weavers across the country unanimously oppose taxes on handloom since it had resulted in huge losses, forcing many to turn away from the traditional craft,” he tweeted. KTR said that the handloom sector is one of the largest unorganized sectors and is integral to rural and semi-rural livelihood.
“The handloom sector in India is reeling under the impact of the COVID pandemic and any move to increase the tax will sound the death knell for the sector,” he stated, adding that handloom weaving represents one of the richest and most vibrant aspects of the Indian cultural heritage. He said this is the first government to levy GST on handlooms since independence.