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Textile traders unrelenting on demand to remove VAT
September, 08th 2011

Thousands of textile and garment traders have begun a two-day shutdown in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad to protest against levying of VAT (Value Added Tax). Though they observed bandhs on the same issue earlier more than once, this time around they were successful in enlisting the support of the Opposition parties.

The traders, under the leadership of Andhra Pradesh Federation of Textile Associations, are unrelenting on their demand ever since the Government issued the order in July 2011, bringing textiles, fabrics, curtains, garments and garments under the entry level VAT slab of 4 per cent.

On the first day of bandh on Wednesday, thousands of textile traders from across the State attended a huge public meeting here. Mr N Chandrababu Naidu, former Chief Minister and President of Telugu Desam Party, Mr B. Raghavulu, Secretary of State unit of CPM, and Mr Narayana, Secretary (AP) of CPI, attended the meeting.

Opposition parties support
Extending support to the traders' movement, the Opposition leaders demanded the Government to withdraw the tax immediately. There is no such tax in other States. The agitation will continue till the tax is withdrawn. We will remove this tax if our party comes to power in next elections, Mr Chandrababu Naidu said.

It is a do-or-die situation for us. We will continue to protest. After the two-day shutdown in the State capital, we will chalk out our future programme, Mr Soma Dayanand, General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Federation of Textiles Associations, told Business Line.

The Federation has over 300 associations in the State, representing textile and garment traders. Bowing to pressure, the Government had made some relaxations. It exempted VAT on inter-State sales of textiles. It also exempted traders with a taxable turnover below Rs 5 lakh.

The Commercial Taxes Department had also given relieve to the handlooms sector by exempting textiles, made-ups, zari articles and embroidery articles produced by handloom houses.

The traders, however, were not happy with these exemptions. They said it was difficult for them to carry on business as the new tax would put additional burden on consumers. It is not at all viable to continue business, Mr Dayanand said.

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