The rippling effect of GST could be felt by various ‘samitis’ organising Durga Puja festival in Kolkata this year. These committees have spent over crores in preparing for the grand four-day celebrations in the month of September 2017. In a report by DNA, Deshapriya Park Durgostav organisers said the amount collected by them from sponsors has reduced by 50 per cent this year.
The secretary of the Deshapriya Park Durgostav committee, Sudipta Kumar told DNA that usually the budgeting for Puja preparations is done in the month of January itself and usually, they get the required funds from one single sponsor. This year they had set their budget for a fixed amount of Rs 42 lakh. However, only a portion of it could be managed so far. Kumar told the daily that he was not sure if the committee would be able to raise even half of the amount required. He said their last resort would be to change their strategy of opening up the window to merely one sponsor.
According to Kumar, GST implementation forced his committee to lower the collections and as a result, their expenses have gone high.
The cost of several items has also increased due to GST. The plywood used by them to construct ‘pandal’ was earlier taxed at 12 per cent while, due to GST, the current tax on it has been raised to 28 per cent. “We also have to pay a service tax on pandals,” he said. According to Kumar, concessions provided by the state government is not sufficient for the massive celebration of Durga Puja. He told DNA, “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee provides a few concessions from the CESC and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, but they will not suffice.”