Even a local brand T-shirt picked up from a roadside store is not going to be cheap anymore, as the proposed levy of 10% excise duty on branded garments in the Union Budget 2011-12 is going to make the consumers pay 10-20% more than before.
Opposing the move, the representatives of major apparel brands, associations and retailers staged a demonstration in the Capital on Monday.
Besides, the All-India Garment Retailers also observed a day-long bandh on Monday. Malls and standalone retail chain outlets in Delhi saw less footfall than usual on Monday. Shoppers' Stop at Rajouri Garden, for instance, put up a notice at the front door, saying they were protesting the excise duty "on behalf of customers, suppliers and clothes manufacturers". Security guards were busy turning away buyers, many of whom were taken aback to see the downed shutters.
"Eventually the burden of the tax will come on buyers, as sellers never want to reduce their margin and pay the tax from their pockets," said Neeta Walia a Paschim Vihar resident, who had come to shop there.
At the West Gate Mall nearby, renowned apparel outlets such as Marks and Spencer, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, etc remained closed even as some of them had their staff working inside. Some of the outlets such as Species and Lacoste were open but non-functional.
The Budget 2011-12 has proposed a 10% excise duty on all branded garments and those sporting a label. According to the industry, the imposition of excise duty would make the garments costlier by 10-20% and it would add to the inflation.
"The garment industry is already reeling under high cost of raw material. Levying of duty would bring down the demand for garments both in the domestic and international markets," said DK Nair, secretary general, Confederation of Indian Textile Industry.
"Any garment sold with a label, even in a Sunday market, would cost more to a common man," said president of Clothing Manufacturers' Association of India (CMAI), Rahul Mehta. The CMAI has sent a memorandum to the Finance Ministry for rollback. All major apparel brands have joined hands in the protest.