SRINAGAR: The GST on handicrafts should be withdrawn so that the Kashmir handicrafts become a zero tax industry, said the Associated Chamber of Commerce & Industry-Kashmir (CCIK) on Thursday.
It has urged the State Administrative Council (SAC) to request the concerned Advisor to Governor to make a forceful case for exemption of Kashmir handicrafts from the GST regime as it has always been so.
In a statement, CCIK said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was “craftily and surreptitiously” extended to Kashmir to pave way for “total erosion of our fiscal autonomy”.
“It looks that as if it happened yesterday but believe us, we shall be holding the second death anniversary of the erosion of our fiscal autonomy on July 7,” the CCIK said hinting that the GST “shall not continue to work out in the similar fashion and style in future as well”.
It said the handicrafts in Kashmir are mainly done by cottage industry which is manned by artisans of lower incomes. “Kashmir handicrafts are known and famous world over for these being works of art by these artisans with their hands. GST is a burden on this work of art and is equivalent of applying tax on the hands of these artisans, which is misplaced and unacceptable and happens nowhere in the world. GST has made their lives miserable and impossible,” it said.
CCIK suggests that this tax on handicrafts should be withdrawn and done away with so that the handicrafts become Zero Tax Industry, as before, if the powers that be are really interested in seeing the Industry flourishing and in place otherwise this too will become a story of the past.
CCIK also said the government has no authority to vary, repeal or delete any rules of the GST regime. “It is the GST Council which is the lord and master to do it. Kashmir is represented presently by the advisor of the concerned department in the GST Council,” it said.