A segment of the upstream textile industry has now asked for 12 per cent GST on textiles and garments. In fact, textiles are essential goods and the lowest GST rate of five per cent looks likely on them. So it’s not that a tax waiver or a low rate of tax is everyone’s choice. The question is why the industry should take a higher tax burden on itself.
A 12 per cent tax incidence under the GST regime for the entire textile and garment industry will benefit only a few large man-made fiber companies with an integrated set-up. Natural fiber-based textile players will be at a disadvantage if the tax rates go up. Natural fibers like cotton fiber are produced out of raw cotton and, since no duty will be paid on the raw material due to the fact that it’s a farm produce, the entire 12 per cent tax burden will fall on the ginners/spinners who produce cotton fiber/yarn. Only an integrated player with weaving, processing and garmenting facilities can offset the input tax costs against output tax liability.
Currently, natural fibers — including cotton — do not attract any excise duty, while a 12.5 per cent excise duty is levied on man-made fibers such as polyester. A four to six per cent value added tax is imposed by states on both man-made and natural fibers.