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GST plays genie as hawkers make most of Chaitra sale.

Date: 10-04-2019
Subject: GST plays genie as hawkers make most of Chaitra sale
KOLKATA: GST discount eksho taaka. 

This one-liner has emerged a winner on the Gariahat pavements this Chaitra Sale season.

Pre-Poila Boishakh sale was majorly affected last year when the GST debate was at its peak and when hawkers complained of a steep increase in prices they were paying to procure material. But this year, hawkers have found a way around it. None of them has registered his trade and is not giving any sale receipt, leave alone one that mentions his GST number.

“We don’t give receipt, we are not GST-registered but look at our price, can anyone beat that? Since we are not GST-registered, we can give the GST discount,” said JK Saha, who has been selling readymade blouses, pettycoats and bermudas on the Gariahat pavements for more than 30 years.

Fellow hawker Dibakar Basak, who sells bedsheets and bed covers, was more forthwith. “I procure my stuff from Mangalahat in Howrah. Initially, when the GST rule came in, we were given sale receipts bearing GST numbers. So we were willing to pay 5% higher price. Later, the wholesalers stopped giving us receipt and started selling at old rates, so we have reduced our prices as well and are passing on the benefit to the buyers this Chaitra Sale,” Basak demystified the whole thing.

Designer blouses have become a major draw this year. The ‘GST discount’ is making it possible to sell them at a throwaway Rs 100, when the MRP is Rs 400. “Go to a shop and you pay that high a price. We are the cash memo-less people who can waive off the GST amount,” said D Chowdhury, another hawker.

Lalu Saha is doing the same thing with his sarees. He sells handloom sarees. Initially, he had to pay a 5% GST while procuring them but now the wholesalers have started selling without cash memo and hence he is getting them cheaper. “Naturally, I am extending the benefit to the customer.” Dress sellers Bipul Ghosh and Lalit Naskar said that the discounts offered are far higher than what the hawkers were having to shell out to wholesalers as GST amount all this while. “We are selling at cost price actually. It is a stock-clearance sale. We try to make the most of Chaitra Sale,” they said.

Most hawkers feel that small traders will vote against GST and it will cost the Modi government dear. They feel that the government rung the system in without creating a proper infrastructure  to ensure that everyone registers. It was bound to backfire but not before it created a havoc.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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