Agra shoe manufacturers on war path

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The proposed hike in GST on shoes costing up to Rs 1,000 will sound the death knell for the industry, a delegation that met senior officials and ministers, said. They said 4 lakh workers of the shoe industry were facing a bleak future and if the industry is hit, they will be on roads without work.

Shoe manufacturers met the former governor of Uttarakhand Baby Rani Maurya who promised to take their case to the Central leaders.

The Aam Aadmi Party workers joined the protest and submitted a memorandum to the district administration demanding roll back of the hike.

In a memorandum to the ADM city, the Agra Shoe Factors’ Federation said the industry was already in the dumps due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, now the GST hike had delivered a severe blow to small traders and shoe makers.

The Joota Dastkar Federation also presented a memorandum addressed to the prime minister, warning that the shoe workers would lose jobs and start migrating, if the hike was not taken back.

The Agra shoe industry is as old as the Mughals in India, engaging around four lakh workers, including packers, transporters, suppliers. Under the state government’s one district one product scheme, shoe manufacturing has been promoted from Agra.

Before the GST hike, shoes costing below Rs 500 were tax free and those above and till Rs 1,000 were taxed at five per cent.

Shoe manufacturers claim that because the leather shoes from Agra are affordable, they take care of almost 65 per cent of the market in India.

–IANS<br>bk/svn/pgh

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