GST and how Goans are handling it
The implementation of GST has attracted mixed reactions from the general public. Obviously, the price cuts have brought in a wave of cheer while things that have become dearer have evoked negative sentiments. Café takes a look at how the young and old are handling GST in Goa
On July 1 2017, India switched to the Goods and Service Tax (GST), thereby undergoing the single biggest tax reform undertaken by the country in its 70 years of independence. On July 1, as GST came into implementation, social media went abuzz with millions of news articles explaining what is set to go cheaper and what may become dearer as a result of the change. It’s been about two weeks now and that makes it a good time to assess, at an absolutely practical level, how GST has really affected us in our daily lives. Restaurant bills were the first to flood social media post the implementation of GST. Consumers took turns to express anguish about how dining at restaurants has become expensive. Stephanie Fernandes, a banking professional, says, “I do not carry my lunchbox to work; my colleagues and I are comfortable eating outside on a daily basis. But post GST, on an average, there has been a hike of about Rs 30 per day. It may not seem much, but multiply it by the days in the month and the total is almost a thousand bucks!” Around mid-June, a lot of chaos ensued, partly because reports suggested a possible hike in prices of cars post GST, and because car manufacturers had their generosity on display with massive discounts on cars ‘in order to clear existing stocks’. Akshay Naik from Vasco, who was contemplating on gifting himself a new set of wheels, took the bait and bought himself a brand new Hyundai i20 from the Verna dealership. Akshay says, “There were contradictory news reports about the repercussions of GST. So no one really knew what is going to happen after GST is implemented. I took the risk and bought a car at a discounted rate of Rs 7,15,000 on road. Now, although Hyundai is said to have knocked off up to Rs 55,000 on the model pan India, when enquired at the Verna dealership, the price of the car is the same that I got it for. A few other models have become cheaper though, at least on paper.” When it comes to daily needs, the new tax has made both ghee and water more expensive. Sushant Khandeparkar, a young IT professional who lives with his flatmate in a rented apartment in Taleigao, says, “Tax on ghee is up from 5% to 12% and on bottled water, from 5 to 18%. Since we buy drinking water on a daily basis, this is something that has become more expensive for us. I am happy that GST on milk, eggs, bread, loose atta, maida, besan, etc has been exempted. But, things like instant noodles, pasta, cornflakes, macaroni, etc, that will be taxed at 18% than the earlier 12.5%, will continue to affect us because, well, only a bachelor can tell you how important a role Maggi and cornflakes play in our lives.” The happiest bunch are perhaps fans of Apple products. Post GST, tech giant Apple had slashed prices of its products in India by up to over 7% from July 1, making them affordable, more than just marginally. For example, the 256 GB iPhone 7 Plus, the most premium model in Apple’s smartphone portfolio, is now more than Rs 5,000 cheaper in India than it was till the end of June. While some cellphones have become affordable, mobile bills are said to go higher. It would be difficult to analyse the severity of it merely because it has been just two weeks into GST. A detailed analysis of a complete monthly cycle will bring in more clarity. In a nutshell, GST has evoked mixed emotions from the end consumer. Perhaps it would be wise to wait a little longer to realise the more serious repercussions of this tax reform on the aam junta of India.
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