Satyagraha against GST on handicrafts enters 4th day

Bengaluru: Gandhian and noted thespian Prasanna Heggodu’s fast-unto-death demanding zero tax on handmade products has entered its fourth day.
Speaking to reporters at Nidu mamidi Mutt in Basavanagudi on Tuesday, Prasanna said a committee formed by Gram Seva Sangh has prepared a list of nearly 200 handmade, handloom and khadi products and services that need to be exempted from GST. “We have submitted the list to the government to bring the products under the zero per cent tax slab,” he added.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on October 15 tweeted that “the CMO is working with Prasanna to prepare the list of handmade products for advocating zero GST at the council”.
The committee headed by social theorist professor Ashis Nandy has urged the Centre to increase the turnover limit for individuals and self-help groups producing handmade products from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 50 lakh. “Handmade products marketed by producer co-operative societies and their federations should be subject to zero tax with no turnover limit,” the report said.
The committee also suggested the government to form a board for handmade products similar to the khadi and village industries board, which would be a regulatory authority for registered co-operative societies and federations of handmade products. “All input purchases made by these co-operative societies and federations should be given the zero-tax benefit. All sales made by these societies and federations should pass on the benefit to the consumer,” it added.
Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statements “GST not taken by PM Modi alone” and “Congress an equal partner in GST decision”, Prasanna said: “We welcome his statement. To err is human. To rectify the error is divine. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has already corrected his mistake and said his government shall work towards ensuring handmade products are exempted from GST. We expect Modi to correct his mistake and take measures to put all the handmade products under the zero per cent tax slab,” he said.
“The GST regime is in favor of machine-made products and has made handmade goods more expensive. We believe this protest against the imposition of GST on handmade products is the second tax-denial satyagraha in the country. The first was in 1930 when we had to fight against the British over the inhuman tax on salt, but now we are compelled to launch a second tax-denial satyagraha against tax on rural products,” said Prasanna.
“British rulers imposed hefty tax on handmade items and gave concession to British machine-made products. Unfortunately, the same trick is being used by our government against our own people,” he added.

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