Union Minister for Road Transport, Shipping and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said the government will consider reducing or providing exemption from the Goods and Service Tax (GST) on cruise tourism services. He said the matter might be discussed in the coming GST financial meeting to be chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Speaking at the first international conclave for global cruise tourism in India, he expressed unhappiness over the way cruise tourism has progressed in the country. He urged investors to invest in the shipping industry.
Gadkari was presented with a charter of demands by the executive members of the Indian Cruise Line Association. One of the demands included exempting 18 per cent tax on tickets for cruises. “It may be difficult to say whether the GST is capped at
5 per cent or will be completely exempted. However, I have asked the finance ministry to consider the same. We will also provide 20 per cent subsidy to shipbuilders in India,” Gadkari added.
“Earlier, the cruise tourism policy did not impress investors. We have made a lot of changes,” he said, adding that “at least three lakh passengers are going to Singapore from Mumbai on a daily basis. At least one crore passengers must use cruise tourism on a daily basis in the next three years. We will provide services and facilities for the same”.
Sanjay Bhatia, Mumbai Port Chairman, who was also present at the event, said, “From a total of 40 lakh ships coming to or going from India, 30 lakh originate at Mumbai Port Trust itself. We are trying to promote cruise tourism in this port.”