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Congress to Remove GST on Handlooms, Give Land Rights to Tribals if Voted to Power in Telangana: Rahul Gandhi

On the third day of his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Telangana, Rahul Gandhi interacted with weavers and tribal farmers at Gopalpur Kalan village of Devarkadra block in Mahabubnagar district for more than an hour.

Shruti Kandwal
Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra enters 4th day in Telangana today
Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra enters 4th day in Telangana today

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi promised tribal farmers and Telangana weavers that the Congress would protect land rights if it wins the upcoming state election and would also abolish the GST on handlooms.

Gandhi interacted with weavers and tribal farmers at Gopalpur Kalan village of Devarkadra block in Mahabubnagar district for more than an hour on the third day of his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Telangana.

"The wait is not that long. Soon, we will take over as state and central leaders and address these issues. We will ensure that the GST is removed for handlooms. Once we regain control of Telangana, he said we would also provide title deeds for the lands being farmed by tribal farmers.

Telangana's weavers have been protesting the implementation of GST on handloom fabrics and the materials used to make them. Recently, the Telangana government also requested in a letter to the Centre that the GST on handloom items be removed.

Gandhi was informed by a female weaver that the GST on handlooms and raw materials would destroy the weaving industry. She said, "Yarn subsidies were given to weavers during the Congress party's rein. That system is no longer in use. The state cooperative organization also used to purchase straight from weavers but now that too doesn't happen."

The tribal farmers discussed the 2006 Forest Rights Act's implementation during the interaction. They also told him about the situation with assigned land and the difficulties tribal farmers were having when trying to access their lands.

The Congress, according to Gandhi, gave tribal people access to forest areas, and if the party is elected to power in Telangana, pattas would be provided.

The issue with the application of the Forest Rights Act was best summarized by Sunil Kumar of the National Law School and Research (Nalsar). Three main problems affecting the tribal farmers of Telangana are;

One, there are currently over 3 lakh applications awaiting recognition of forest land. The second is a conflict between government agencies, primarily the tax and forest departments, due to which 1 lakh tribal farmers are suffering. 

Lastly, the forest department is holding up the recognition of forest land, which is having an impact on about 25 lakh farmers in the state.

What is Bharat Jodo Yatra

Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra in Telangana, according to AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh, is receiving a great response. Several MPs from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Odisha joined his padayatra, he added.

Gandhi, according to him, had been mingling with various groups of people and had grown to understand the regional realities. Instead of limiting himself to walking, Ramesh stated that "He is interested in meeting the common people on the roadside."

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