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Punjab knitwear industry fears exemption to hill states will ruin local units

As a part of a special industrial package Punjab-based knitwear industry has protested against the Centre’s decision to give tax exemption to hill states of Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh under GST. Knitwear Club Chairman Vinod Thapar as well as Knitwear & Textile Club General Secretary Charanjiv Singh have written to the two union ministers from Punjab, stating the 12 to 28 per cent GST rate on knitwear products has proved to be a big blow to the Punjab-based knitwear industry due to which it has reached a stage of bankruptcy and also caused loss to the state’s exchequer.

They also stated thousands of units in the small-scale and cottage sector are on the brink of closure, as a direct result of excluding Punjab's knitwear industry from the special package given to the Himalayan states. According to them even though the hill states were already enjoying tax exemption, the tax holiday under the GST regime will give the local industry in Punjab a reason to move to the hill states.

They added since both ministers are part of the Union government, they are expected to protect the interests of Punjab's knitwear industry. Also, as the BJP and the Akali Dal are major political stakeholders in Punjab, it becomes obligatory upon both ministers to fight effectively for the interests of the Punjab-based industry.