Ahmedabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat has stepped up its efforts to increase acceptability of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) after the state witnessed protests, primarily from the textile and construction industries. This comes less than six months before the state goes to polls.
Apart from vigorously promoting GST from all social media handles, the issue is likely to be discussed at BJP state executive meeting next week that will be chaired by party president Amit Shah.
Broadly, the strategy to be finalised is educating people regarding the benefits of a simplified taxation systemwhile a series of closed door meetings will be held with various industry associations to minimise the resentment against the new tax regime.
Surat’s textile industry, the largest in India with over 50,000 weaving units, 350 process houses for dyeing and printing yarn and over 70,000 retail shops, has not accepted GST as readily as other sectors. Textile traders from other cities too have supported the stir.
On Monday, police had to resort to a lathicharge to disperse textile workers who took to the streets against implementation of GST. Stray incidents of stone pelting quickly took an ugly turn with police using force to bring the situation under control. Road contractors too have taken to the streets, protesting against a GST of 18 percent instead of the 0.6 percent tax applicable before July 1.
Bharat Pandya, chief spokesperson for the BJP in Gujarat, said, “Primarily GST is good and beneficial to the consumers and common people, so a majority have welcomed it. And while the transition will not always be smooth, senior government functionaries are holding day to day meetings with various organisations to ensure that it is acceptable to all.”
It is learnt that Deputy CM Nitin Patel, who is also the state finance minister, has been holding parleys with office bearers of various industry organisations to minimise the backlash against GST.
Jitu Vakhariya, President of the South Gujarat Textile Processors Association told News18 – “Business has not just slowed down but has grinded to a halt. When traders shut down their businesses, process houses have to cut production as there are no takers for cloth. In turn, process houses are not buying yarn from the weavers.” Vakhariya added that there have been several rounds of meetings with traders, but a solution does not appear in sight.
Speaking at a function top celebrate the rollout of GST in Ahmedabad last week, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the implementation of GST will be most beneficial for the common man as almost all essential goods either attract zero of minimum tax. “This step is historic in many ways as it is not just transparent but benefical for the common man too,” the CM said.
Meanwhile, almost the entire top brass of the Gujarat BJP have been told to keep promoting the new tax reform regime on social media. The Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, all cabinet ministers and office bearers of the state BJP have been busy posting the benefits of GST on social media.