The city will witness low key Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations this year due to demonetisation and introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Until last year, many small Ganesh mandals used to celebrate Ganesh festival in a lavish manner. However, this year many of them will stay away from celebrations on account of inflation after GST rollout. Idol makers say that Ganpati idols have become expensive this year as raw material charges have gone up drastically thereby affecting their business. As a result of this many of them are facing huge hardships and are finding it difficult to make both ends meet. This year only large Ganesh mandals that have backing of business houses and political funding are staying afloat. The GST levy of Ganpati idols has affected the business of idol makers and they want the government to reduce slab rates. However, the government is yet to take a decision in this regard.
Demonetisation also has dampened the festive fervour this time as there is shortage of cash on account of note ban. People used to splurge lumpsum amount of money for buying Ganpati idols, erecting pandals, decoration, lighting and music. However, this time they are finding it tough to arrange finance due to liquidity crisis in the aftermath of demonetisation. Idol makers are expecting a turnaround next year when situation will resort to normal. After note ban there has been a surge in digital transactions which has led to sharp decline in cash transactions. Many people are also buying idols using UPI and mobile wallets to reduce the dependency on cash.
Nityanand Patil an idol vendor from Kandivali said, “Since PoP, paint, varnish, cloth materials have become dearer after the introduction of GST Ganpati idols have become expensive. Therefore we have no option but to pass on the revised price to customers.”
Kunal Raut an idol seller said, “This year there has been a sharp decline in the sale of Ganpati idols as compared to previous year. Ganpati idols have become expensive after the introduction of GST. I hope the government should reduce GST rates on idols.”
Santosh Patil another idol vendor from Kandivali said, “The festive spirit is missing this time due to demonetisation and GST. People are comparing rates of idols before buying them. The government must provide some relief to idol makers as GST is affecting sales.”
On the other hand, idol maker Aakash Wagela is planning to levy pre GST rates on customers to retain them. He said, “Even though idols have become dearer after GST roll out but I will charge old rates from customers. There are many customers who regularly buy idols from my shop.”
Vipin Gupta a vegetable vendor said, “Since we often celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi festival every year hence we won’t mind shelling extra money for buying idols. Even though idols have become expensive it should not dampen the festive spirit.”
Deepak Mainker a vendor said, “We will continue to celebrate Ganesh festival in the same manner which we have done last year. We have faith in Lord Ganesh so we will definitely buy idols and celebrate the festival.”