The postcard campaign launched by Handlooms and Textiles Minister KT Rama Rao demanding the Centre to announce a roll back of the five per cent GST imposed on handlooms, is gaining momentum. About 10,000 hand-written postcards are being sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Siddipet alone, while weavers, elected representatives and the general public too are taking up the campaign.
Opposing the Centre’s decision to impose GST on handloom products, the Minister had launched the postcard campaign as well as an online petition campaign, appealing the union government to remove GST on handloom products to protect the interests of weavers and the country’s cultural heritage.
Shortly thereafter, TRS (BRS) leaders and cadre as well as citizens joined both the campaigns.
Extending his support, Finance Minister T Harish Rao gave a call to weavers and TRS cadre to write postcards to the Prime Minister seeking a rollback on GST imposed on handlooms. On Tuesday, the weavers from Siddipet district began writing 10,000 postcards to the Prime Minister as part of efforts to build up the postcard movement. The weavers’ associations have purchased 10,000 postcards and distributed them to the weaver societies in Siddipet, Dubbaka, Gajwel, Koheda, Cheriyal and Bejjanki mandals. After writing their demand on the letters, the weavers’ societies will drop them in post-boxes.
In a statement, Harish Rao said the handloom workers were already in a debt trap. He said that the imposition of GST will further push them into crisis. Unlike the Centre, Rao said that the Telangana government has come up with many initiatives to support the weavers’ community. The Minister said that they will continue to support the handloom weavers until the Centre rollback GST on the handlooms.
Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy too wrote a postcard to the Prime Minister, stating that the handlooms and textiles sector was second largest employer in the country after agriculture sector and imposing tax on it will have adverse impact on those depending on it. He urged Modi to remove the GST on handloom products and encourage people to purchase them which will improve the livelihood of scores of weavers depending on the sector. He urged the TRS cadre and weavers to write postcards to the Prime Minister, explaining issues of weavers and demand for removal of GST on handlooms.
Similarly, more than 500 weavers belonging to Siripuram Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society in Siripuram of Choutuppal mandal in Yadadri Bhongir district joined the movement and wrote postcards to the Prime Minister. Nakrekal MLA Chirumarthi Lingaiah also attended the programme and wrote a postcard to the Prime Minister. Speaking on the occasion, he said that Narendra Modi was the first Prime Minister to impose tax on textile and handlooms products.
Several other Ministers and elected representatives including Thungathurthy MLA G Kishore also wrote the postcards to the Prime Minister urging him to withdraw the five per cent GST on handlooms. The TRS is planning to scale up the movement in the next a few weeks and pressurise the Centre to remove GST on handlooms.
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