GST-related issues being seriously addressed, Smriti Irani tells Surat textile traders

Union Textile minister Smriti Irani on Friday assured the textile industry of Surat that issues related to GST are being seriously addressed in association with the Finance ministry. Visiting Surat as part of the ongoing campaign of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government to celebrate four years the BJP rule, Irani said that the textile businessmen facing issues with refund under Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) would be heard at special camps being organised by the Finance ministry.

Addressing members of the textile industry, Irani said, “I had meeting with the members of the textile industry and Finance Minister Piyush Goyal to discuss the issue of refund of IGST. The Finance Minister took up the issue seriously and assured that the arrangements for the refunds of IGST will be made soon.” “The FM has announced that camps will be organised from May 31 to June 14, where IGST issues being faced by the textile industry will be sorted out on the spot and refund will be given in the camps,” she said.

Irani claimed that the previous textile commissionerate had no statistical data of the industry and a survey to gather the figures to help implement the schemes was recently conducted. She said, “During discussions related to textile industry in the GST council, some delegates of the textile industry had come to us and put forth three demands, which included the rise of the import duty on the silk and to bring velvet industry and job work under five per cent slab of GST. We have hiked the import duty on silk to 20 per cent and the remaining demands of velvet and job work are being worked out.”

Attacking the previous UPA government at the Centre for delaying technology upgrades in the textile industry, Irani said, “In last three years of UPA government, 40 schemes were launched, out of which 20 were suspended without spending a single penny. Meanwhile, we have worked in the direction of 100 per cent allocation and implementation. Under the UPA government, only ten projects were sanctioned in Surat and Rs 6 crore were allocated between 2011 to 2014. Under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership, 110 projects have been sanctioned in Surat, in which Rs 34 crore have been released while Rs 57 crore have been approved. For machinery upgrade, a Rs 61 crore subsidy was released by government in 2014-15, Rs 92 crore in 2015-16, Rs 199 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 83 crore in 2017-18. Over 2,900 applicants from Surat, had applied for this.” She said that capital subsidy in technical textiles had also been increased with an intention to allow the local businessmen to seize the opportunity of indigenous manufacturing instead of relying on importing the items.

Irani, however, refused to meet the representatives of the Federation of Gujarat Weavers Association (FOGWA). The association’s president Ashok Jirawala said, “We contacted Surat MP Darshana Jardosh, who was with Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani and requested her to give us an appointment. We were told that union minister refused to meet us. Our intention to meet her was to hand over a list of demands which we have made about the issues that the industry is facing. We all are disappointed as we were not allowed to meet her.”

When contacted, Jardosh told The Indian Express, “I received a call from power loom association president Ashok Jirawala when Smriti Irani and I were in the middle of a press conference. I told him that it I will let you know after contacting her. It was too late and later she had other pending programmes to attend.”