After protests by cloth traders in the state, several industry bodies including hardware tools associations, dry fruits and Kirana associations-sporting goods and physical exercise equipment have joined the chorus of protests raging across the state against the upcoming GST slabs levied on them.
While a majority of cloth markets remained shut across major cities on Thursday, they were joined by Dry Fruits and the Kirana Associations of Gujarat that included 400 traders of Ahmedabad who observed a total bandh (shutdown) to protest against the 12% GST rate for dry fruits. Similar associations in Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and their important markets also observed a complete bandh.
Hiteshbhai Pariyani, Chairman of Dry Fruits Association stated that with the current GST regime prices are set to increase by 7% for consumers. “Previously, all dry fruits were under one taxation scheme, now cashew nuts and raisins have been reduced back to 5%. The industry wants all dry fruits to be considered one again and be put under 5% GST. We welcome this revolutionary step of implementing GST taken by the Government, but the higher GST rates on dry fruits and kirana are not feasible.We fear that with 12% GST on the remaining dry fruits, it will lead to a price increase of atleast 7% and negatively impact the consumer,” said Paryani.
In lieu of the 28% GST slab on hardware tools, a slew of associations including Akhil Gujarat Hardware Association, Dariyapur, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, Jamnagar and Mehsana associations have called for a state wide shutdown of shops of hardware, plywood, pipe fittings, sanitary, colour and tools shops on Friday(June 16) and have demanded that the GST slab set to be levied on them be brought down to 12%.
Similarly GST rates applied on sporting goods and physical exercise which is 12% and 28% by the GST Council, the Traders Association of Sporting Goods and Physical Exercise Equipment (TASGPEE) in Ahmedabad has also made an appeal to the council to reconsider the GST rates for physical exercise equipment in same GST tax rate of 12%.
Speaking on the issue Dinesh Kapoor, President,TASGPEE said that GST rate of 28% implies that exercising and fitness equipments are luxury tems which makes essential exercising and fitness equipment out of reach for the common man.“We would like to appeal to GST council to also treat physical exercise equipment as part of sports goods with 12% GST rate,” Kapoor said.
TASGPEE officials shared that the fitness industry is estimated to be worth Rs 500 crores and is growing at 16-18 % annually and the association expects GST rates to impact the sales by around 25%.