Leather traders eyeing Council meeting waive off 5 % GST raw hide. With leather traders, particularly the skinners ending their strike against 5 percent GST on raw hide, all eyes were on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who was likely to take a call on this demand.Skinners from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and a section of those from a small market of West Bengal, who were led by the traders from Jalandhar were up in arms against the imposition of 5 percent GST on raw hide. The skinners had refused to pick up dead animals, leading to chaos for the local residents.Recently, a delegation of Punjab Hide and Skin Merchants Association met Punjab Minister for Finance Manpreet Badal and apprised him of the need to address the issue, as it was affecting the unorganized sector of skinners in the leather trade.
Jalandhar MP, Santokh Singh Chaudhary said that the strike was lifted on his assurance that the demand would be taken up with Arun Jaitley. “We are trying to put up this demand in the next GST Council meeting. Apart from a meeting with Manpreet Badal, I also met Finance Minister, who too agreed that there should be no GST on raw hide”, he said.Former mayor and a leading leather trader of Jalandhar who is representing Punjab Hide and Skin Merchants Association, Surinder Mahey said that the skinners came from an economically weaker section. “The skinners work in an unorganized sector, where they collect raw hide from dead animals and bring it to the biggest leather market- Buta Mandi in Jalandhar for processing. Imposing 5 percent GST on raw hide is burdening the poor further”, he said.
Mahey also said that they had sought time from Union Finance Minister. “We are hopeful of convincing the centre government to take back its decision and help the marginally poor skinners in working in this industry”, he added.It is pertinent to mention here that Buta Mandi in Jalandhar was one of the biggest leather market of North India. “In Punjab, we have leather market in Buta Mandi, Phillaur, Malerkotla and a small section in Amritsar. The leather merchants from across the North India and those from Punjab were dependent on us to lead them in fulfilling this demand”, he shared.
He also maintained that other than Punjab, Uttar Pradesh too had leather markets in Hapud, Meerut and Ghaziabad. “We are leading the leather merchants from across the country to waive off 5 percent GST on raw hide, a demand which is likely to be accepted by the government”, he expressed faith.Earlier, various associations including Punjab Hide and Skin Merchants Association led by president Seth Satpal Mal and Dr Ambedkar Leather Association, Phillaur had held protests across the state. The Excise and Taxation department has also forwarded the demands of the leather traders to GST Council.
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