M Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, India Council for Leather Exports said the announcement to provide assistance in setting up of dormitories for women workers in the five mega clusters relating to handloom, power loom and leather sectors would be of great help in creating a comfortable and secure boarding facility near the workplace for them. It would particularly benefit those women whose residence was located +50km from their work place. Thus, this scheme will help in attracting more women workforce to the leather industry.

He also said the measure of enhancing the limit of the central excise exemption for footwear on the basis of retail sale price from Rs250 to Rs500 ($5 – $10) per pair would be highly beneficial to the manufacturers, particularly the SME manufacturers selling footwear in the domestic market.

Another major announcement made is extension of the service tax exemption with retrospective effect from June 16, 2005 to the common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) set-up with the assistance of the Central or state government’s aid. This is a huge benefit, which will help in effectively implementing environment management programme in the industry.

Though the Central excise and service tax rates have been enhanced from 10% to 12%, the leather industry hopes that the duty incidence will be compensated in the upcoming revision of all industry rates of duty drawback.