Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) has urged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to exempt the sector from the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The handicrafts sector is apprehensive that the GST regime may have certain tough tasks for the segment, EPCH Executive Director Rakesh Kumar said in a statement. The sector, which has 100 per cent exemption under central excise, may be covered under the GST regime with higher taxes and this can make the product un-competitive in the international market, he said. The issue was raised by the EPCH delegation that met Jaitley yesterday. He said though the exporters are being allowed for refunds of taxes, there will be complete blockage of capital as presently proposed for refunds in the GST. "The delegation sought the handicrafts sector to be exempted from the GST," he added. Handicrafts export during the first six months of 2016-17 grew 18.28 per cent to Rs 13,005.35 crore.
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