GST, note ban hit popular trades, but not poll issues

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Jhumka”, “surma”, “maanjha” and “baans”- the four specialty trades of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh were hit by demonetisation and the Goods and Service Tax (GST), leading to closure of some businesses but are far from being a Lok Sabha poll issues. Two of the most significant economic policy decisions of the Narendra Modi government, the overnight scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in 2016 and the launch of GST in 2017 that subsumed all other taxes, did not bring the expected respite to traders, locals said.

There are around 450 registered jewellers here with an estimated daily business of Rs 15 crore to Rs 20 crore, Sudesh Agarwal, president of the Bareilly Sarafa Committee, claimed. “There were obvious problems after the note ban but the traders here accepted that. The GST is a good decision but has been very confusing. It was billed on the theme of ‘one nation, one tax’ but now there are different slab rates,” he told PTI outside his shop in Sahukara market. “In the run-up to GST’s implementation, workshops were conducted here for traders in which jewellers were assured that corruption would end and it would benefit the community. The benefits that the ordinary traders should have got are yet to be seen, GST has only increased our return filings and paper work,” Agarwal, also the Mahamantri of the regional traders association, Bareilly, said.

However, Agarwal asserted that “we are traditional backers of the BJP”. Bareilly is home to one of the finest “surma” manufacturers in the country but some marginal operators shut shop in the after effect of the note ban, as did some cane traders in the city also referred to as “Baans Bareilly”.

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