The cloth merchants in the city have decided to keep their shops shut for a day tomorrow to oppose the Centre's move of bringing the textile industry under the GST. Sixteen associations of the cloth merchants from the city and outskirts have formed a Joint Action Committee of Textile Traders Associations and decided not to seek GST registration. Bharat Merchants Chamber, a leading body of the textile merchants in the city, said bringing the industry under the GST would hit it badly. "The way GST has been imposed on the textile industry by way of bypassing the existing laws, it would finish the industry and hence it is essential to send a signal to the state government and the Centre. As part of that, the cloth merchants will keep their shops closed for a day tomorrow," Rajiv Singal, trustee of the Bharat Merchant Chamber, said. "This industry in very unorganised and mostly uneducated or less educated people are engaged in over 45 lakh looms across the country. Around 10 crore people are directly or indirectly involved in the industry.
If the GST is imposed on the textile industry, then it would affect these 10 crore people. Therefore, we demand the government to do away with its decision to cover the industry under the GST," he added. Singal said that the textile traders refuse to seek GST registration to oppose this decision "as the textile industry has always been exempted from any tax under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, 1957." Meanwhile, Local BJP MLA Raj Purohit from Kalba Devi in south Mumbai, which is one of the largest wholesale cloth markets in the country, today met the textile traders over the issue. "I met the representatives and listened to their woes as a local MLA. I arranged their meeting with state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who was apprised of their demands," Purohit told PTI. "Mungantiwar then spoke to Maharashtra Sales Tax Commissioner of Maharashtra and directed him to meet the textile traders in the city and look into their objections and suggestions," Purohit said.