Small Industries, Agri Sector reeling under GST, Budget should address it

Voicing a difference in opinion on the BJP government’s implementation of the new tax regime of Goods and Services Tax (GST), RSS-affiliated Mazdoor Sangh has called for remodeling of GST to boost medium and small enterprises (MSME), along with the agriculture sector.

“GST parameters were drawn up keeping uniformity in mind and in our country there are different sectors that contribute to the economy. They have very unique characteristics and have to be considered individually, before designing anything. The government will have to remodel the GST structure in order to boost MSME and agriculture,” said Brijesh Upadhyay, General Secretary, Mazdoor Sangh.

The largest trade union in India backed by the RSS, held a massive rally in Delhi on Friday against the “anti-labour policies of BJP-led government”.

The protesting labourers demanded abolishment of contract labour, equal work for equal pay, a hike in the number of working days from 100 to 200 per year under the MNREGA scheme, social security for all labourers and rectification of anomalies in the 7th Pay Commission recommendations by fixing a minimum salary of Rs 24,000. They also demanded rehabilitation of workers and reimbursement of GST-affected unorganized sectors.

Several workers’ unions have also cumulatively presented a 12-point charter to the finance minister for their demands to be addressed ahead of the Union Budget on February 1.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ahead of the Gujarat elections, had said that GST had adversely affected the MSME sector in the country, even more so in Gujarat.

“In Surat, 89,000 power looms were sold as scrap, which led to the loss of 31,000 jobs. There are countless such examples from industrial clusters and big mandis (markets) across the country,” Singh observed in his speech at the Parliament.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has meanwhile, reassured the MSME sector after a meeting with top economists ahead of the Budget and said that the government shall make sure the needs of the sector are taken care of.

“There are two important issues in the country –unemployment and the economy losing out on purchasing power. If these are to be addressed, then MSME and agriculture sector should get special concessions from the government. The government will have to give subsidy and support. There is no other way to overcome the crisis,” added Upadhyay.

While demands of providing relief to the MSME sector has found no audience in the government so far, the GST council is planning to introduce changes relating to GST return by introducing a Finance Bill in the upcoming Budget Session.

“Today, maximum employment is in the MSME and agriculture sector and if the government wants to come out of this crisis, they will have to help these sectors,” said Upadhyay.


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