Minister of Finance, Dr Haseeb Drabu today said J&K government mulls a comprehensive package to address the issues faced by the state’s carpet sector.
A delegation of carpet traders and manufacturers today called on the Finance Minister at his office here and made a representation for reduction of rate of tax on carpets which is presently at 12% under Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime.
The Finance Minister said in fact the crisis in J&K’s carpet sector is much deeper and structural in nature, and not because of GST. “The Government is examining the possibility of a comprehensive package which will alleviate the problems faced by the people involved in the carpet sector,” he said.
Dr Drabu said the State Government will take up in next GST Council meeting the issue of bringing down GST rate on carpets from existing 12% to 5%. “In any case, the artisans and handicraft exporters with turnover of Rs 20 lakh per annum have already been exempted from the GST registration. We will try to bring down the effective incidence of taxation on carpets closer to five percent,” he said.
During the meeting, the Finance Minister was informed that 15 lakh people from 3.5 lakh families are involved in the carpet industry and the hike in tax will impact their livelihood since the J&K’s carpet sector is already in crisis.
“We are intervening in a much bigger way in the area of Handicrafts including Carpet sector in order to revive the traditional industries of J&K. Our government is committed to restore the glory of these sectors which will also go a long way in addressing the issue of unemployment as well,” the Finance Minister told the delegation.
Later, Dr Drabu directed the officers from Commercial Sales Tax Department to form a committee comprising representatives from J&K Bank, CST, carpet association and Industries Department to work out modalities of a comprehensive package for the carpet sector.
Meanwhile, a delegation of LoC Traders also called on the Finance Minister and apprised him about the issues faced by them in the cross LoC trade. Dr Drabu gave them a patient hearing and assured that all their genuine grievances will be addressed.
The meetings were also attended by Commissioner, Sales Tax, Parvaiz Iqbal Khateeb, and other officers of CST and Finance Department.