With the goods and services tax (GST) coming into effect from Saturday, some of the country’s biggest automakers and retailers announced price cuts across products to pass on the benefits of reduced tax incidence to costomers under the new indirect tax regime. Maruti Suzuki, the country’s biggest carmaker by sales, dropped prices on some models by up to three per cent, passing on the “entire benefit of GST rates” to customers. The company, however, has increased prices of diesel variants of Ciaz and Ertiga models with smart hybrid technology by over Rs 1 lakh because of withdrawal of tax concessions on mild hybrid vehicles under the GST framework. The price hike on the models will also vary from state to state.
Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), too, reduced prices for all cars manufactured in India by up to seven per cent, said a spokeswoman for the company. “On an average, on the basis of ex-showroom Delhi prices, the reduction in the prices of our vehicles across the range will be around seven per cent,” JLR India president and managing director Rohit Suri said. Hypermarket Big Bazaar, owned by Future Retail, announced discounts in the range of 2-22 per cent on groceries and household supplies across its stores in 26 states. Fashion portal Myntra, part of India’s biggest online retailer Flipkart, was also offering GST discounts.
In many parts of the country, customers queued up outside shops and malls, which remained open till late Friday night to clear stocks of watches, electronic gadgets, cosmetics and gold at discounted rates before the GST regime kicked off at midnight.
The Centre is encouraging all businesses to migrate to the new GST system but its complexity — four rates and several exemptions — has still kept many at bay. “We will continue as usual unless we see trouble,” said a 35-year-old grocer in Bhubaneswar who has not yet registered for the GST. Jammu & Kashmir is yet to implement the GST, as the state government grapples to arrive at a consensus with the opposition and other stakeholders.
Traders in Srinagar held a sit-in on Saturday and took out a march against the proposed implementation of the GST, which they claimed would lead to erosion of the special status and the fiscal autonomy of J&K.
(With Reuters & PTI)