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Deep Dive Into Pottery & Handicrafts


GST changes save BJP the blushes in ceramic hubs

Ceramic industry entrepreneurs in Morbi on Friday heaved a sigh of relief as the GST council in its meeting in Guwahati, Assam, pruned GST rate on ceramic tiles from 28% to 18%. Morbi district has been on the political boil since August 2015 due to the Patidar quota agitation and, more recently, because of the high GST slab as well as the complex compliance system. The ceramic tile makers, who are facing low demand due to GST and sluggish real estate market, expect business sentiment to improve after the GST rate reduction. Interestingly, more than 90% of ceramic tile unit owners are Patels and said to be traditional BJP supporters. Another major business cluster, some 65km from Morbi, is Thangadh in Surendranagar district, which is renowned for making sanitaryware products, especially low-cost water closet pans (toilet commodes). A little disappointed over the revised rate of 18%, entrepreneurs in this 100-year-old industrial hub say they had demanded 5% but even the 18% rate would help ease their problems to an extent. Thangadh courted infamy for killings of three dalit youths in police firing in 2013; the inquiry report has not yet been made public fearing law and order problems. The latest announcement to slash GST rates on ceramic and sanitaryware products along with 176 other items from 28% to 18% is expected to mollify business communities in these regions ahead of assembly polls.