Footwear industry looks to GST to improve sector health
Industry insiders commented on two announcements made by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley. First, reduction of excise duty on rubber sheets and resin rubber sheets for soles and heels from 12.5% to 6%. Second, the abatement rates for the retail sale price (RSP) based assessment of excise duty for all footwear have been revised from 25% to 30%. This, shoe manufacturers said, will just marginally benefit consumers and exporters.
"As far as the overall Budget is concerned, it is pro-development. There is no major tax burden on the public. The increase in abatement rate from 25% to 30% will have a positive effect, and it will increase production, which may lead to fall in footwear prices," said Puran Dawar, president of Agra Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Chamber (AFMEC), talking to TOI.
"The footwear industry has not got anything from this Budget, even as this sector was made a thrust area during the Make in India campaign. Now, our hopes are focused on the GST, where we see reforms. It will bring uniform taxation and resolve many issues. The announcements will make no difference to domestic as well as export products," said Valentino shoes director Chander Daultani.
Former president of AFMEC Nazir Ahmed said the Budget was a "letdown" for footwear exporters. "We have sought certain incentives to compete with the international market like duty-free import. High duties on import of components are making it difficult for us. Focus product licence was reduced from 4% to 2%. We wanted that restored to the original percentage. The budget looks to have political aims more than commercial," Ahmed added.