Traders in India are continuing to hold demonstrations, a week after a nation-wide Goods and Services Tax replaced federal and state levies. As Kate King reports, the textile industry is one of the hardest hit with varying duties on materials creating confusion.
It's now been a week since India rolled out its Goods and Services Tax but sewing all the elements together hasn't gone smoothly. Small manufacturers say the system is too complex. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi and Punjabi) A FACTORY OWNER, RAJ AWASTHI, SAYING: "The small traders who have limited workforce are going to face problems, it will take time for people to adjust. Everything was going at its own pace. Now we will have to maintain records, which is a problem." GST has replaced more than a dozen federal and state levies in an attempt to unify India's $2 trillion economy. Aside from a lack of preparation, one of the biggest problems is the variation in taxes. It's put the the textile industry into a spin, with cotton, silk, synthetic all attracting different duty. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi and Punjabi) OWNER, SHARMAN SPINNING MILLS, MANOJ JAIN, SAYING: "Currently, there are different rates such as 5 and 12 percent. This is plain harassment." Shops remain closed in some parts of the country as traders protest the levies. They want the programme rolled back. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) MEMBER OF TRADER'S CORE COMMITTEE, DEV KISHAN MANGANI, SAYING: "We have suffered losses to the tunes of millions of rupees, people are on the verge of becoming unemployed, so we request the government make a decision quickly." It's unlikely the government will u-turn the tax overhaul is a personal project of prime minister Narendra Modi - who was elected on a promise to reinvigorate the economy. And many logistical business are happy with the changes - they say it makes transporting goods across borders much easier. But connecting all the threads may take much longer than the two month period the government has allowed.