Statewide protest in Gujarat against 18% GST on ‘garba’

Ahmedabad, Aug 3 (IANS) From 2022, the state government will apply GST on commercial garba’s entry passes, 1 lakh in Vadodara alone. Players will have to pay more than one and a half crore rupees as GST. With the addition of Rajkot’s 50,000, the players also have to pay GST of more than Rs 1 crore. This decision of the government is being opposed across the state.
The Vadodara city Congress staged a protest at the collector’s office by playing garba and demanded the withdrawal of this tax. Even in Surat people played the garba and protested against GST on garba passes and other things related to Navratri.
The Aam Aadmi Party has written to the Chief Minister demanding that the GST should be removed as it insults faith. State President Gopal Italia said that garba is a tradition of Gujarat, culture of Gujarat and the faith of crores of people relates to garba. Gujarat celebrates garba as an occasion to seek the blessings of the Goddess. But the BJP government has imposed GST of 18 percent even on garba.
The Surat organisers have replaced the season pass with a daily pass, stating that their daily passes will be priced below Rs 499 and will not attract GST. The government has implemented 18 percent GST on garba passes in addition to 4 major garba organisers. But if the spectators who come to watch the garba take a daily pass, they will not have to pay GST. However, there is still confusion over this.
A GST of 5 percent to 12 percent is levied on chaniya choli. Five percent GST is levied on chaniya choli below Rs 1,000 and 12 percent on chaniya choli above Rs 1,000.
Hanish Patel of Ahmedabad, who is a Navratri costume designer and a garba judge, told IANS that the government is currently imposing GST on many items, including essential items like pulses and curd. Garba and Navratri are the identity of Gujarat and garba players get energy for the whole year from Navratri. It is not right to tax that, everyone’s budget will be ruined and the festive spirit will not be maintained.
Event manager Dewang Bhatt, who organises multiple garba events, told IANS that if GST is levied on garba passes and chaniya choli, everyone’s expenses will increase. People buy less tickets here, we distribute most of the tickets to sponsors. Our garba event does not have a ticket counter. So, the cost will increase.
Speaking to IANS, Sameer Shah of S21 Events said that the organisation of big garba events has been stopped for the last three years due to corona, so our business was already in a loss. This year, there was some hope, but now if GST is implemented, the budget will increase for everything, as will the production costs. We have a free pass trend here. Very few people buy a pass and come to play garba.

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