Pune: Countering the common perception that festivals and festivities are set to get expensive under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, officials from Central GST Department in Pune claimed that it is not the case. The officials said the cost of festivities will remain the same, if not less.
Assistant Commissioner of CGST Rajlaxmi Kadam said that news is afloat that Ganeshotsav and other upcoming festivals are set to become expensive. “Ganesh mandals and others have expressed dissatisfaction over festivals and celebrations becoming expensive under GTS. But this is a false notion. The cost of celebrations is set to remain same or even less in some cases. People must stop paying heed to such baseless rumours,” she said.
She added, “The price of Ganesh idols made of clay will not change as clay is an exempted commodity under GST. While idols made of Plaster of Paris do attract GST, it earlier attracted excise and VAT and GST on the same is less than the previous tax regime. Also, most idol manufacturers do not earn more than Rs 20 lakh per annum so they too are exempt under GST.”
Kadam said all pooja items, except incense sticks, are exempt under GST. “Pooja items are exempted under GST, while flowers, garlands are agricultural products are also exempted. These products are used in all festivals, leading to no additional costs due to taxation,” she said. She said Ganesh mandals distribute prasad or serve free food to people during the festival, which too is exempt under GST. “Prasad is exempt and so is serving of food. Sweets or mithai previously had VAT charged on them and now there is GST, which is more or less the same,” she said.
She said initially people could not see the tax rate. “But, now under GST, one can see the tax rate on the bill which is leading people to believe prices have gone up. The tax has marginally reduced on some products while it has increased on a few,” Kadam said.