Pune: While a lot of confusion and chaos was expected in the market place on Saturday, the first day of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country, the Pune market functioned quite smoothly despite the changes in the tax regime. Most traders from the city dealing in different products said that they operated as per routine.
As was expected, some products and services became expensive while some became cheaper, however, this did not cause hindrance to daily operations. Rumours about many stores being shut following the implementation of GST were also laid to rest as traders from across sectors said that they had kept the shutters up.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Chairman and Managing Director of PN Gadgil & Sons, Saurabh Gadgil said while the shop was due to remain closed on Friday for software upgradation, the shutters were kept up. “The shops were open on Friday and we experienced a good footfall. Even on Saturday, the stores remained open and sales were good. There wasn’t any panic reaction from consumers. There has been only a marginal rise in tax on gold. It has risen from about 2.2 to 2.3 per cent to 3 per cent. Besides, prices of gold are low at the moment, making it a good time to buy it,” he said.
Similarly, apparel trader from Pune Camp area Parag Shah said GST has had no major impact on prices or customers on day one. “Surprisingly, we saw a greater movement of customers on Saturday as compared to the last few days.
“Prices of garments have not seen any change yet as the maximum retail price (MRP) is mentioned on the products. In this industry, there was no Value Added Tax (VAT). So with GST, prices are set to rise in the future. However, Saturday we saw a greater footfall and sales,” he said.
Electronic retailer chain Vijay Sales too saw routine functioning on the day. “We saw business as usual on Saturday despite the fact that prices of electronic goods are set to rise due to GST. We had a sale in the last two days, during which we saw higher sales and more crowd. But Saturday was just like any other day with routine footfall and enquiries,” an official from Vijay Sales said.
Rumours about cinema halls and multiplexes being shut were also refuted as owners said that no one could afford to keep the business closed for an entire day. Neerav Panchamia from E-Square said, “It is not possible to keep the business closed for an entire day. With the abolition of Entertainment Tax and the advent of GST, ticket prices have fallen by nearly 5 to 10 per cent in Maharashtra.”
Poona Exhibitors Association President Sadanand Mohol said single screen theatres were also open on Saturday. “We are awaiting the guidelines from the government on the tax structure. There has been some confusion in Tamil Nadu due to the imposition of state tax, due to which the theatres there are shut. If state tax is imposed on us along with GST, we, too, will have to take similar measures. However, as of now, theatres will remain open,” he said.
It was also being said that chemists and pharmacies are going to be shut on Saturday, but that was not the case. Secretary of Chemists Association of Pune District Vijay Changedia said wholesale shops were mostly shut in the afternoon due to the upgradation process underway after the GST implementation. “Retail chemists were, however, open throughout the city. Wholesale shops were closed to mostly update the system. No direct rise in cost is seen as of now. However, items that were taxed at 13.5 per cent rate under the VAT will now be charged at 28 per cent. These items include cosmetology items and protein supplements,” said Changedia.
Restaurants and hotels, too, were seen functioning normally. Mrunmayee Joshi said, “I visited a popular restaurant in the city and was happy to see that necessary changes with regard to taxation have been incorporated in the bill. The tax amount was clearly divided into Central GST and State GST in accordance with the government rules.”